Monday, January 23, 2017

Parenthood: Week 188 – Peace at 4 am

Diana and I were had gotten to bed late, and we were really tired, so when Ollie crawled up into bed with us at 4am, neither of us were in the mood to deal with him. In my haze of sleep, I attempted to ignore him and hope he would this once, peacefully sleep with us, but that didn’t happen. Diana got up, and walked him back to his room and I thought that was the end of it.

After a couple minutes Diana came back to bed and soon after, Ollie ran back into our room.  Again, he climbed into bed, and started pushing and kicking me. Not able to ignore him for any longer, I picked him up and carried him to his room.

I put him in his bed and asked him, “Do you want me to sit in the chair or sleep with you?” More often than not, Ollie just wants some company so when he’s trying to go to bed, he’ll want me to sit in the rocking chair next to his bed while he goes to bed. I think sometimes he gets lonely when he tries to fall asleep.

Ollie said, “No, I want you to sleep with me.” Not looking forward to trying to share Ollie’s bed, dreading his kicks and eye pokes (he likes touching my face when we’re in bed together).   I begrudgingly got into bed with Ollie.

Instead of squirming around or trying to push me away, he cuddled up to me and put his head on my chest.

“Do you want to talk?” I asked.
”I had a dream.”
“Was it a nice dream?”
“No, it was a bad dream.”

At that moment, I felt horrible. Ollie had just articulated to me for the firs time that he had a bad dream. My heart sank a little bit.  I felt sad that Ollie had just experienced one more of the difficult parts of growing up and I felt guilty not comforting him more compassionately early.

We talked a little bit more, but Ollie didn’t have anything else he wanted to say about his dream. I told him, “when you have a bad dream, mommy and daddy can kiss your head and make it disappear.” I kissed his head gently and I felt his body relax into mine. I looked and saw his eyes looking at mine and felt his small hand on my chest. I heard his soft breathing and for a moment, it felt like we were the only two people in the world.

At this stage in Ollie’s life, a kiss can make a boo-boo all better, a hug can bring him smiles and a cuddle can make a bad dream disappear. I know that this isn’t going to last forever.  At some point in his life, Ollie will suffer and I will not be there with him.  All I can do is hope that I hugged him up and told him “I love you,” enough times that he feels the warmth of compassion in his own heart and feels strong enough love for himself to persevere.

I got out of bed, kissed him one more time and went back to bed with Diana. In the quiet of the night I felt my wife at my side, heard my puppy breathing, knew my son's was sleeping and there was peace.

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