“It was 2 a.m. when you came into our room. I woke up immediately, of course, sensing your presence. You wanted to sleep with me. You wanted to fit right in between Mom and Dad.
But I said no.
This night was not unlike any other night. You weren’t sick. You didn’t seem scared. You just wanted to climb into bed with me.
But I said no.
The reasons for this are the same reasons I’ve always had. I want you to be independent. I want you to be able to soothe your own troubles. But I also get tired. It’s hard to sleep with someone pushing you off the side of the bed or kicking you every 5 minutes. Is this selfish? Maybe.
And now I regret it. I regret not feeling your sweet breath as you cuddle close and your warm little hands wrapped around me. I regret putting you back to bed, giving a hurried kiss, and shutting the door behind me. I regret only thinking of getting back to sleep.
There are many moments in a parent’s life when we dismiss questions, whines, and cries. There are so many times when we just want to get on with it and not be bothered by more demands. There are always those moments when we ‘should have’ been more attentive but were too fed up or worn out to follow through.
And such is the beautiful contradiction of parenting. There is so much time that we want to ourselves yet so little time to really connect with our children.
Those opportune moments come and go, the days flow by, and the nights where we have the chance to hold our children close will not last forever.
I should have said yes.
And next time I will say yes. I will pull you up into my arms and deal with the elbow in my ribs and the feet kicking mine. I won’t worry about this becoming a pattern or how much sleep I get.
I will just hold you and know that these nights will soon be gone.”
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