My greatest privilege.

Tonight River had a hard time sleeping. The kind of hard time that makes you want to cry. And then actually does make you cry.

At first he fumbled with it, awake a bit later than normal, but no biggie. After all, it was the first full day of summer and going to bed with the sun still above the rooftops, well, it simply wouldn't be realistic to be able to go to sleep right away. So he messed with his pajamas. He sang. His sister told him to stop singing. Then quite soon Maggie was asleep. But Riv was still up. It was unusual. Even though he'll tell you that Maggie is always the one to fall asleep first, it's really River who falls asleep within 3 minutes of me exiting their bedroom every night, well before Maggie has requested that I tend to finding her pink unicorn, or seahorse or Big Baby or to re-fill her water bottle. But he just couldn't fall asleep.

I gave him a flashlight and his Ninjago book and told him to read in bed to his heart's content. 20 minutes later I watched as the flashlight flickered between disco strobes and then it went dark. And his room was silent.

But then there stood Riv before me, tall, whispy and strong, like a genuine all-heart kid straight out of a Saturday Evening Post illustration. And he was crying. He couldn't sleep. I held him close and enjoyed this extra time I was getting to hug my son. I told him to read some more. Don't read to try to fall asleep, read to enjoy it. Don't think about wanting to sleep, just revel in the quiet and the comfy bed. I said this but knew it wouldn't help. When the frustration of wanting to sleep overtakes you, it's like you've been fang-bitten. So I said even though I don't have a magic way to make sleep come, I do have lavender.

So I sent him back to bed with a heated up lavender teddybear. I rubbed his back. I pet his head. I said good night.

Now he's here beside me, in my bed. The tears came back despite the lavender and I knew then that the only fix would be to cuddle up next to me while I read my book. We listened to Dexter alternate between deep and awkward snores to his semi-dry tongue smacking. And I watched out of the corner of my eye as River's eyes began to get glossy and his eyelids hovered lower with every few breaths. And as he finally fell asleep my heart swelled to the largest it has ever been in this entire life of mine. It inflated and remained filled, like a hang-glider rising and staying aloft on warm air across an infinite landscape of beauty and danger and wonder and pulsing hearts.

I held his hand. Touched the scar between his thumb and finger, the one he got from the wagon wheel when he was a baby. No one in this whole world but me will ever know how thrilling it is to be this boy's mom. To be such a witness to the complete vulnerability of him. To be his safe place. I can think of no greater privilege than this.

Comments

torrie said…
Beautiful
Jasmine said…
It is so beautiful to be a mother
Lei said…
That certainly is a privilege, one we sometimes overlook.

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