Waiting It Out
Getting him easily and peacefully into his nighttime diaper. Rubbing a dab of ointment on each of his scabbed knees. Struggling to brush his teeth. Working against a mouth shut clam tight and a head that won’t stop moving side to side. Failing even as I pull out all my creative tricks. Watching Grandma sustain a tooth brushing injury. Acquiescing with a full and gentle heart to sad pleas of, “Need a hug!” Declaring victory after the brush has at the very least touched each tooth. Crawling into bed. Lifting him up after he has placed a requested book on our pile. Sitting propped up on pillows while he has milk. Reading I Know Here, Quiet Time with Cassatt, and Big Wheels. Grabbing his ankle so he doesn’t fly off the end of the bed as he drops Big Wheels to the floor. Inviting him back to turn off the star light. Reviewing the events of our day together as he has more milk. Picking him up and cradling him in my arms as we enter the final stretch of bedtime. Taking a moment to drink him and this moment in. Giving him Eskimo and butterfly kisses. Responding gladly to his requests for more. Telling him of the place he holds in my heart. Lying him down gently and offering him the requested other side. Asking if he wants me to sing Stewball, Puff the Magic Dragon, Return to Pooh Corner, Over the Rainbow, Make New Friends, or Simple Gifts and getting a yes, finally, to Taps. Lapsing into silence after he says, “Mama just be quiet right now.” Watching his body twist and his leg dart up in the air and then slow to stillness. Listening to his breathing deepen. Knowing with certainty that he is on his way to sleep. Thinking about how much he has grown and changed over the past two years, including in his needs for support with sleep. Missing the baby he used to be. Marveling at the little boy he has become. Resting with him for a moment longer before getting out of bed to be here at the page.