Dearest Four Year Old Baby Boy,
The thunder had been roaring for several hours. You had been sleeping soundly, despite your puppy’s best yelps from the other room.
But, eventually, one extra loud clap of celestial activity would wake you.
We decided to let you move into our bed if things got loud enough to disturb you. It wasn’t worth it to make you tough it out if you were scared. And, honestly, these cuddles are becoming less frequent. So I’m ok with a restless night sharing the covers (and eventually my pillow) with you.
You don’t know that momma’s anxiety goes wonky when there are severe storms. You don’t know that I was physically ill from the storm anxiety just an hour before you woke up. You just knew that you were scared. You knew that momma and daddy will keep you safe in any circumstance. And you’re right about that. Your daddy is brave and possesses a courage when it comes to you that I didn’t know was possible. And your momma can put aside the fiercest of anxiety attacks if she needs to shield you from danger. You made a good call, kid. We’ve got your back.
Your hair was extra curly from the sleep sweat and you were squinty from the adjustment to the light. Most importantly you had this contented smile on your face, like you were especially relieved to be joining us in our little safe place. You were happy to be with your people, and we were happy to see you too.
Even though we lost an hour to Daylight Savings the night before and even though we were exhausted from a weekend spent busier than ever, we were happy to see you. There was something about the three of us convening in the big bed while the rain doused everything outside that made our cuddles extra cozy.
We spent some time talking about silly things. You and daddy read a few funny poems from your book. Then we watched outrageous videos of llamas together to calm your nerves and make you giggle. These were all your daddy’s ideas. He had a head start on learning how to manage the anxiety of your mother from our many years together. He’s just modifying his tricks to help you. He’s really a pro at calming those fears.
Eventually, daddy made the choice to go sleep on the couch. Smart move on daddy’s part. Multiplying your presence in the bed is sort of your specialty. When you’re involved, three to a bed just isn’t happening.
You reached over a few times to hold my hand when there was an especially scary clap of thunder, and you asked me to confirm that everything was ok repeatedly. I’m thankful that my words can ease your fears.
You’re four now. You’re pretty grown up. You can do so many things independently that it boggles my mind. But you still need the security of your parents when the weather gets rough and you will for a few years to come, I’m sure.
The thing is- in a few years you won’t be wearing those footie jammies. You probably won’t still have the last remnants of super soft, baby chubby hands. You won’t smell like your orange and vanilla baby shampoo. And you probably won’t whisper: “you’re my best buddy” in the future like you did on Sunday night. We’ll have other nights like this. But you’ll be bigger and older next time. If I’ve learned anything from parenting thus far, it’s to mentally snapshot these moments. And to breathe in the sweetest little moments. Moments like a slumber party complete with all night cuddles.
I know it makes for a long night. I know that as a mom I’m supposed to be annoyed at the bed hogging and jabs to the ribs. But I can’t help but feel beyond grateful. Giddy, silly, tearjearkingly grateful.
Not only grateful that you want to cuddle with us, but that we can be the ones to calm your most fearsome fears. That you think I’m brave even when I’m a little less than I should be. I’m immensely grateful to be your momma. Grateful for the opportunity to cuddle and sing your song (the one we made up together) and protect you when you’re scared. I’m grateful to be your best buddy for as long as you’ll let me. I’m grateful to share my pillow with you and give up a few extra hours of sleep. This job of being your mom is a privilege I don’t take for granted and a privilege for which I’m eternally grateful.
Bring on the storm cuddles for as long as they’ll last, we’ve got things handled.