Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Finding the Bliss in the Stress

Yesterday was stressful.  It was a long day filled with road trips and swimming lessons and fighting over fake ice cream.  The bedtime routine was especially hard last night as well.  I have been handling bedtime for both kids by myself this week as my wife is away on business.  It's been a little challenging, but we didn't have any major issues until last night.

Both kids had fallen asleep on the way home in the car.  I brought R in first in his carseat and left him in the dining room sleeping.  Then I brought K in, hoping to just transfer her to her bed like I do on many a night.  For whatever reason she woke up, though I am not convinced she was entirely awake.  She was crying, flailing, kicking, slapping herself and yelling something about corn.  All of this is very unlike a sleepy K.  I could not find any way to soothe her no matter how I tried, no matter how much I told her I was there and that she was OK.

In this midst of this half hour battle of trying to calm her down, she woke R up.  Of course.  Why wouldn't I be able to go to sleep at a decent hour in my own bed by myself?  So he was sitting in the dining room by himself crying.  Now the dilemma of, "Who needs me more?"  Unfortunately, when I went to pick R up, this induced an even more severe reaction in K - I didn't think that was possible, but it did.  The only resolution I could see was to bring R into K's bed with us until I could get either one of them to sleep.  I was annoyed that they were both awake, I was annoyed that they were both crying, and I was annoyed that I couldn't just go to bed myself.  It was an exhausting day and I was drained.

I don't know who started to fade first; it seems like it happened simultaneously.  I was laying on my back, K sleeping on her stomach yet wrapped around my left side, and R had been nursing on my right side but found his way up to cuddle in the crook of my neck. 

As horrible as the night had been, this was one of the most wonderful moments I have had with them together.  Lullabys were faint in the background; twitches indicative of deepening sleep alternating from one side to the other; the airy shudder of breath, the last signs of a sob in each ear...Any trace of aggravation or annoyance I had earlier was completely gone.  What was I annoyed at anyway?  That they needed me?  That they wanted so much for me to pick them up and to love them?  That they needed me to soothe them?  Those are not reasons to be annoyed, those are things to cherish - they will only be this way for such a short amount of time, and I know it.  I remember actively remembering my last few naps with K before R was born.  Now it seems so long ago but I remember it like it was yesterday because I knew I had to hang on to it.

I could feel myself starting to drift off and fought it just so that I could savor this moment, this secret nighttime solace where I lay sandwiched between my two children who cling to me for comfort because they love me.  Their sweet smell enveloping me, their hair tickling my face and neck, their little hands grabbing my arms as they twitch even further into sleep, their slowing breath on my neck relaxing me to sleep myself.  This is what love feels like.  It is the most amazing feeling in the world.

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