For Jack's combined graduation-birthday gift, all of his grandparents and Tom and I went in together to give him a new bed, bedding, and nightstand. It was time to make the leap from twin to full, and he picked out a really darling bed -a navy blue twill upholstered frame and headboard with a gold J monogrammed on it- a preppy, stylish nightstand in white wood with brass hardware, and a cool new Star Wars quilt and shams.
He has since invited everyone in the family to join him for a night in the new sack. My mom and Oliver took him up on the offer immediately, and reported good nights of sleep.
Yesterday, Jack said that for his birthday, he'd reeeaaalllly love it if I'd experience his bed too.
I agreed because even though I doubt most ten-year-olds sleep with parents and maybe at this point I shouldn't bunk with my sons anymore, it's also really dear that Jack still asks and really does want me there.
Immediately, Tom said, "You are nuts. You'll get a terrible night of sleep. Jack kicks!" To which I replied, "I'm sure it will be fine."
As I played with Nutmeg from 2-4 am this morning, bleary-eyed and tired of rogue limbs flailing into me for hours before and a pretty significant amount of talking and moaning in his sleep, I silently vowed to never slumber with Jack again.
But I wouldn't trade it for the world. Even though it meant giving up time with Tom and losing sleep and being pretty uncomfortable, I know what it meant to Jack. And therefore, to me.
We snuck out for a bit to watch local fireworks from our favorite window seat, and once back in bed, I rubbed his back until he settled and his breathing slowed and deepened.
"Mom, this has been the best part of my birthday. Thank you. I love you."
"I love you too, honey. So much."
I imagine last night may blur into a vague memory or an amalgamation of similar nights as the years stretch forward and beyond. As with all the travel we've done with the boys since they were tots, I don't expect or profess to know what they'll remember clearly and what they won't, what they'll flat out forget and what will matter a great deal.
But I think (hope!) that an enduring foundation is being laid, one that will withstand time and aging and fault lines and tectonic shifts.
I hope that Jack always knows how loved he is and that he can draw strength and comfort from that when he needs it.
Last night, as I rubbed his back, and his perfect lips slackened in sleep's gentle embrace, I thought about how a parent's love for her child sustains but also takes.
At least for me, loving my children and striving always to do right by them often means carving away from other deserving, important things: my marriage, my free time, my extra-parental interests, my energy. There never seems to be enough time, and yet I never regret moments -brief or lengthy- like last night or the recent Lego marathon for in a rushed life, they feel relaxed. In a scheduled life, they feel spontaneous. In the relative brevity of childhood, I hope they count for something. They do to me.