My visiting teacher recently lost her granddaughter to SIDS. This little girl was put to bed one night and never woke up again. Both her mother and her aunt did CPR on this infant, but it was just her time to go.
On Sunday I spoke to this lady and offered my sympathies. I felt almost guilty as I stepped over to my pew to sit with my little girl, who just happened to be blessed on the same day as the baby girl she had just lost. And even more guilty as throughout the meeting my daughter's behavior grew progressively worse and I eventually shoved her into the arms of my husband so that I could attempt to listen to the rest of the meeting.
But it's really had me thinking about how precious these little ones are. Many mothers would take some extra time with their kids, maybe hug them a little tighter, read that story "just one more time", but I haven't, because I think those things are already an integral part of our day.
Throughout the day I play with, feed, discipline, nurture , teach and care for my children. We play games, give hugs, read stories, sing songs, talk it through when someone gets in trouble and learn about the rules of the house and of the land. I take them to run errands with me pretty much everywhere. I quite literally spend every moment of every day with my kids. But when it is time for bed, it is time for bed.
Both of my kids have their own bedtime routine. Isaac likes to floss and brush his teeth, jump in bed to read a Spiderman comic book, turn out the lights and be told a short story made up by mom or dad, say a prayer and then it is time for sleep. He rarely asks for more than that, and we hardly ever acquiesce if he does. We already let him stay up way too late. Sure, I know I could easily read another story. But I also feel like sticking to his routine builds security. He knows what to expect and he knows that boundaries are not to be pushed. To me that is just as important as him knowing that he is loved.
Kenley's routine is far more simple. We walk into her room, close the door and turn out the lights and she nestles up against my shoulder as I approach her crib. Usually she takes a minute to play with my hair and while she does I sing. My singing is usually interrupted several times as she lifts her head with lips pursed together waiting for a kiss. After each kiss her head returns to my shoulder until she decides that she needs another. When she is done cuddling, she turns away from me and reaches toward her crib. Some nights she completely bypasses the snuggles and just reaches for her bed, in desperate want of rest. I place her in there and cover her with her blanket and she is done. She is ready to sleep.
And as they both go to sleep I think about our day together. I think of all the fun things we've done and how Isaac might even remember some of these things when he is older. I hope we're making great memories for him.
I also think of the parts of our day that maybe weren't so pleasant. Like when I yell instead of collect myself before speaking, because things can be more easily replaced or repaired than a child's delicate spirit. And I hope that there's a tomorrow with all of us to try again and do better.
I think of how tired the both are as they are finally taken away from all other stimulation and given a chance to relax. They fall asleep so quickly and slumber so soundly. And each night I hope that the rest they need is only for the night. I think of how perfect they are, and yet pray that they aren't perfect, that I still can teach them, and that they have more on this earth to do.