The Bedtime Paradox
I’ll be honest: I love being home with my girls. I love that my job is raising them, teaching them, and providing them with the sort of love and attention they couldn’t possibly get anywhere else. But I spend plenty of days counting the hours and praying for bedtime. Mostly courtesy of my oldest, and it is for her that I write this.
You’re small, and the world is big. And it’s a tough place to make sense of. That’s where we come in, your dad and I. We’re here to guide you, help to make sense of all you discover out there. And some days, you and I find ourselves completely overwhelmed by it all, and I cannot wait for bedtime to come and for you to go to sleep. For the chance to rest and regroup and recharge after it all.
We’ll have our last snack, our last drink of water, a last trip to the potty. Pyjamas, goodnight hugs, and a few minutes of rocking and songs, then the last “nigh-night, I love you,” a closed door, and it’s over (usually).
And then, something strange: I miss you.
You’ve been a tiny tornado, a toddler terrorist, a seemingly unending source of whines and screeches, and I have looked forward to this moment all. freaking. day.
And then I miss you.
I miss your chubby cheeks when you smile, the way your hair- every bit as wild as you -chases behind you as you run through the living room.
I miss the tiny trail of crumbs and bits of frosting left behind as you eat your after-lunch cookie on the run, like I’ve told you not to a million times. I miss the way I ask you where you’re supposed to eat that, and you just smile and cram the rest in your mouth as if to say “Wherever I want. Try and stop me!”
I miss the sweet way you wrap your tiny arms around me as I’m walking across the room, just for a hug. Even though, 9 times out of 10, that hug nearly sends both of us crashing to the ground.
I even miss your ear-piercing shrieks of delight as the cat, who has kept you at a distance since you were capable of independent movement, decides you’re mature enough to cuddle now. And how, for the next 15 minutes, you ask me “Did you see Blitz? You see Blitz? You see Blitz? You see…” because you can’t believe something so AWESOME has just happened to you.
But I settle down into whatever I’m doing that night- usually nursing your little sister to sleep in front of old episodes of Star Trek or making vain attempts to catch up on some project, and eventually call it a night myself.
And I miss you.
I miss the nights when you slept next to me, your chubby little arms tucked under your head, curled in to fit just so, like you once did in my belly, and we fell asleep to the rhythm of our breaths.
But now you sleep like an epileptic starfish, so I’ll leave you be.
We’ll see each other tomorrow, anyway.