I've just finished putting the boys to sleep. I'm not sure what happened along the way...how did bedtime morph into this incredibly long, drawn out routine? When Aidan was younger, even while he was still nursing, I could place him in bed awake, whisper goodnight and walk away. I suppose things started changing when August came along. Putting two kids to bed is an entirely different story, especially if they are in different stages of nurturing. So what had once been very efficient and routine suddenly became, well... not so efficient and routine. Then, when August joined Aidan in the "Big" bed, I suddenly became a central (literally, me lying in the middle of the bed) part of the whole going to sleep thing. Now, the boys simply don't go to sleep unless someone joins them.
I have found that, rather than rant and rave about how it is high time that they learn to go to bed on their own or that they should be less dependent on me or whatever other argument I could put forth about how this is ridiculous, it is much better to just succumb to the arrangement. Note that I did not say easier. No, that would be the definition of passive parenting, in my opinion... finding the easier way through a situation rather than a better way. No, I have not found lying down with my boys every night to be easier. But what I have found, especially after tonight, is that it is richer.
Aidan has always been a little lover and I fear the day that I am no longer his Sun. His deep affection and loving admiration for me knows no bounds and I am, for once, not foolish enough to let that go by without complete and utter relish. After a day of lavish compliments and long, thoughtful looks in my direction, his day is complete just to be tucked in very deliberately and then gently snuggled. He falls asleep in record time.
August is simply full to bursting, all of the time. He is animated, whimsical, fully of energy and alive-- all day long. For anyone who lives with such a person on a daily basis, you know full well that such energy doesn't simply turn off at the end of the day. August must lull himself to sleep with varying degrees of energy expenditure, each one a bit smaller than the one before, so that eventually he simply falls asleep. These "expenditures" range from large movements of his arms and legs to more intimate overtures, like patting my hair or cupping my face in his hands.
And from just that loveliness is where I have just now returned. As I lay there with Aidan quietly snoring towards my back and August caressing my face with his pudgy, yet slowly lengthening hands, I couldn't help but marvel--
marvel at the gift of darkness to hide my imperfections
marvel at the quiet that comes only at night and manages to stir my imagination
marvel at the magic that two boys can work on my heart.
I am so much richer in heart when I leave my boys' bedroom each night. The way that each of them choose to love me at the end of their day is so very unique and so reflective of their personalities. And, by some miraculous twist of fate, their uniqueness is spun from some of the same fiber from which I am spun and thus, the dance goes on, day after day. I give to them, they give to me. I love them, they love me. Oh, I humbly pray that this miracle of God-spun grace and loveliness that weaves anew in me everyday would never end. I will die the richest person in the world if it be so.