Audrey sleeps about half the night in her bed. Then she climbs in with us. Nothing new, right?
Except that she wants to share my pillow, and that cuts into my dreamland real estate. I couldn't understand that, until last night.
I still climb up into bed with her, and wait for her to fall asleep. Yah, I know, you're not supposed to do that. Or let them sleep in your bed. Or hold them when they're sleeping babies. "They'll never learn to fall asleep by themselves," the experts all say.
Those last moments with her at the end of the day, when she's drifting off, are one of my favorite parts of the day. She settles in, and pats my cheek. Or puts her arm around me. I try not to look at her too much, or she looks right back at me, and we start giggling, and that's not a good thing when I want her to sleep.
As a result, I'm getting good at faking it.
I close my eyes, and sigh, letting my head drop a bit just so. Breathe slowly, and deeply, peeking out once in a while to see if she's heading off. If she catches me peeking, I flutter my eyelids so it looks like a reflex, and snuggle in again.
Snuggle in again on her pillow. We share a pillow in her bed, and that's where she gets the notion to share mine when she climbs in with us.
I chuckled to myself last night as the 'aha' came over me. Quietly, of course.
As I feel her falling asleep, I will lay there and watch her. Smooth the errant hairs off her face, trying to preserve the image, because everyday, she looks a little older.
I remember doing this with her brothers, how Nolan always snuggled in close, and fell asleep; how Ben used to snuggle, then turn away, needing his space; and how Ryan also snuggled close to me before he graduated to just holding my hand, Audrey between us.
A coworker asked me the other day if I felt sad with each new milestone Audrey hit, because it would be the "last time" I saw a baby do that.
I've been pondering this question, a lot lately, trying to get a gauge for how I really feel. So much of what happens around here is a "first time" with Nolan, that the "last times" sometimes pass me by before I realize they are gone.
Last night, as I slowed down with Audrey at the end of the day, I realized that I think this is what I will miss, when it finally comes to an end. She will be the last that needs my assistance into dreamland.
Oh, sure, there's the occasional nightmare that sends a kid to stand by the side of my bed, eyes wide with fear, staring at me until I wake up. Or shaking me, which is Ryan's preferred method, one that has nearly cost him on arm on more than one occasion.
But how much longer, I wonder, will the tucking in last?
Because that is the milestone, I think, that's gonna bother me the most. The evening someone says, "Night, Mom" and doesn't wait with impatient pajama persistence for me to come in and turn out the light.
So until then, I've decided that I'll be happy to share my pillow.
Even if it costs me a shoulder and a kidney in the process.