I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I sat up, put my foot down and felt something lumpy, so I moved my foot and stood up. Cautiously, I walked toward the door and along the way I tripped, I stumbled, and wondered if I would make it to the bathroom with all my limbs in working order. On the way back, I was much more careful. I knew immediately what obstacle course I had been forced to maneuver-my kids.
When my oldest was a baby he had horrible colic and couldn’t sleep, like at all, unless he was nursing. This morphed into just sleeping next to me, and so it went until we kicked him out. Even then he always managed to find his way back into our bed and eventually our floor when we told him there was no more room in our bed. The pattern went on with all the kids after that. Now my two youngest, who are 2 and 3, both sleep in my bed. They refuse to sleep anywhere else. The 3-yr-old we have tried putting in her room, on our floor, with her older brothers, with her younger brother, and in the end we spend hours trying to get her to sleep for what turns out to be about 2 hours and then she just crawls in our bed anyway. I stopped trying. If next to me is where they want be then so be it.
The older kids are 10, 7, and 6. They all have a bedtime routine. They all fall asleep in their own beds fairly easily. Nevertheless, most mornings I wake up to find anywhere between 1 to all 3 asleep on my floor. They know better than to wake me up, they just grab blankets and pillows and make a spot for themselves. Sometimes I feel it is such an invasion of space. I hate all the blankets and pillows on the floor. I have put them all away neatly only to have them on the floor again the next night. At this point I wonder what the point is of even cleaning them up? We have been talking about maybe getting a house with more bedrooms in the next couple years, but if we don’t even use the ones we have I don’t see the point.
It isn’t always a restful sleep down in Momma’s room. Those two toddlers still wake up in the middle of the night for drinks of water, no blankets, and night terrors. I get up to go to the bathroom more than once, and usually, trip over them. Also, there is a vicious rumor going around that I snore. When I tell the older kids they do not have to sleep in my room if there is so much to complain about, they tell me this is where they want to be. Plus, my 7-yr-old says my snoring helps lull him to sleep. He likes knowing I am right there and he can hear me. I want to be offended by this, but instead I am flattered. Flattered that my kids love me, rely on me, feel safe around me, and want to be near me after fights, hard days, and long nights. They want to be near one another also. The three boys are snuggled right up next to each other. Even after the long long days of name calling and taunting I can see they love each other and find comfort in being together.
I can’t imagine my oldest will be 17 and wanting to sleep on my floor, so for now, while he is young I won’t tell him to stop. For now, before they become moody teenagers who are so confused about everything, I will offer my room as a sanctuary. I want them to feel safe, to gather strength in each other, and know my love is constant, much like my snoring. Hopefully it will stay in their mind and when they feel the world is against them and nothing is going right they remember their Mother and their house is their safe place.