I wrote this December 12th but have only now gotten the internet so that I could post it...
We’re in our new house. There are four bedrooms, 2 baths, a family room, living room and dining room… And we’re soooo excited about all the space. With four bedrooms, each child has their own space and Lowell and I have a bedroom that has a “sitting room” space that will give me a place to have my scrapbooking stuff! Yipee.
Last night was the second night we slept here. The first night, Jillian was not sure about sleeping by herself. In California, Chloe and Jillian shared a room, with bunk beds. Since we’ve been here, they have not only shared a room, but a full sized bed. So this is a big change. And Jillie wasn’t so sure about it. Chloe is excited because she will only be responsible for cleaning her own messes in her own room. She says she pretty sick of having to help clean up messes in their room that she feels Jillian was responsible for. I guess now we’ll see who was making all the messes. J
Anyway, so Chloe is excited about having her own space. Jillian is too, except when it comes to sleeping. She didn’t want to sleep by herself. Being that it’s a new house, new place, new experience.. And because she’s only 5 – I let Boogie sleep with me that first night but only on the condition that the next night – last night, she’d sleep in her own bed.
So bedtime came last night and Boogie bravely settled down in her room… About five minutes went by and she came out asking if she could sleep with Chloe. She knew she couldn’t sleep with me, but maybe Chloe would be more open… So, I told Jillie to ask Chloe. Chloe said she’d think about it. J (I wonder where she’s heard that one.)
Brave little Boogie went back into her own room and laid down… And fell asleep. She slept all night in her own bed. In her own room. By herself.
When I went in my room to sleep, I was sad and proud at the same time. I realized that this was a big step in her journey to being “grown up”. And I don’t want my baby to grow up just yet… Even typing this I have tears in my eyes because I am so crazy about that little curly-haired angel… And, even though it might not seem like a big deal, I know that it was hard for her to be obedient and lay down in there by herself. Part of me wanted to run into her room and scoop her up and snuggle with her until she fell asleep. Because I don’t want my children to suffer…
But the responsible part of me remembered that my job as a parent is to root my children in God and to teach them to be separate from me – independent and relying on God, not Mom. I teach my babies that if they can’t sleep, instead of counting sheep, they can talk to God. He’s always awake and always listening… I would love to snuggle on their little heads and listen to their little snores… But I have to teach them to not need me. To self-soothe and to be able to fall asleep on their own.
Sometimes I doubt my timing.. Is it too early to be pushing my children from the proverbial nest? Am I expecting too much from them? I snug on them frequently during the day and I love to snuggle with them in the mornings… But bedtime means that everyone goes to his or her respective bed. Honestly, part of this decision comes because I simply don’t like sleeping with a little wiggly body that hogs all the covers and kicks me… I love having my bed to myself. (Disclaimer if you’re new to this blog – my husband works nights. J)
I had a conversation with a good friend last night about parenting. We were talking about doubt. There are so many nights I lay awake thinking, “Why did I…” or “Why didn’t I…” or “I wish I hadn’t let that opportunity pass me by.” My friend made a good point. She asked if I ever lay in bed and wonder why my “mom” snapped at me this one time, or why she didn’t teach me when she could have or why she…
I guess I don’t really fear the individual moments, I fear the pattern. I don’t want my kids to grow up and remember their mom as one who was snippy or grouchy or impatient or tired… And I definitely fear the “last”. The whole idea that, if I had known that would be that last time my son would come lay in bed with me asking to be snugged, I would’ve stayed and hugged and snuggled sooo much longer. Or I had known it was the last time my baby was going to ask me to read her Dr. Seuss, I wouldn’t have growled or sighed when she asked me. I might have read it twice. Or if I had known it would be the last time Chloe would come to my bed in the middle of the night because she had a nightmare, I would’ve actually sat up in bed and hugged her instead of just inviting her into a hug and then falling right back asleep.
I suppose there comes a point where you just have to let yourself off the hook. Honestly, I believe that I will never be the parent that I want to be simply because my standards for myself are too high. I want perfection. And that’s impossible. Even knowing that, I still regret all the times that I fall short. I work so hard to teach my children about having grace and mercy with each other… Forgiving little grievances and overlooking unintentional wrongs. But I don’t give myself the same courtesy. I wonder what is speaking louder – my words or my actions.
I don’t want my children to be perfectionists. I want them to be proud of themselves, to be confident that they are loved by both God and their parents, and to humbly know that they are just fantastic little people. Ignoring all the rest, I hope that message gets through.