Seven. That’s the number of trips I made into my boys’ room last night. Three times for bad dreams, once for a stuffy nose, once for a drink, once for falling out of bed, and once just because. By the fifth time I might have found it comical had it not been 2am and had I not been so darn exhausted. While seven is a bit more busy than most nights, the night-time rodeo is not an unfamiliar event in our home.
Every single night my boys decide to wage war on me. It’s our bedtime battle that occurs between 7 and 8 following brushing our teeth and stories. Given the never-ending back-and-forth the night before my patience is pretty well exhausted tonight. Why are they SO hard to get to sleep?! M, our middle boy, just goes and goes and goes until he finally crashes. Sometimes mid-sentence. Sit up, lay down, roll to the top, roll to the bottom, then, like someone turned his power switch, he’s gone. R, our oldest, complains of being so tired he can’t even climb his ladder into his bunk bed, but then spends the next 20 minutes making a nest out of his hundreds of blankets. And the questions. “Do we have tornadoes here? Can we get a pet eagle? What do eagles eat? Were you alive during WWII? Where is Europe? Why were they fighting? Did they have tanks like the one at the park?” N, the baby, thank goodness fell asleep hours ago, but it won’t take much to bring him into the crazy show.
Tonight I try with every ounce of patience not to snap. I sing songs, hum, and write until that final surrender and the rare silence that follows. And when it does I look at those sweet, peaceful faces and the frustration washes away. I feel that guilt only a mother can feel for not enjoying the last thirty minutes of wiggles, questions and songs. I know that one day I’ll walk in to tuck them under their covers and they’ll say, “Mom, we’re big kids now. You don’t have to tuck us in.” and I’ll wish to have these sleepless nights back. I’ll think of those dishes in the sink and long for that excuse to let them wait. I’ll remember tripping on those toys as I stumble out of their finally silent room and close the door. I’ll wish the toys were still there to trip on. I’ll wake up at 5:30am and realize that I’d just slept for 7 hours STRAIGHT. Then I’ll probably walk in their room and look at their big boy faces and imagine their little ones so many nights ago needing me.
Seven. That’s the number of trips I made into my boys’ room last night. Seven exhausting trips to check on three amazing boys. Seven times of being needed. Seven times of saying “I love you, now please go to sleep.” One frustrating, sleepless, yet oh-so-very-worth-it night.