Max is giving up his naps. I know I shouldn’t complain. By four years old my other two only napped occasionally. But it still hurts my heart. Partly because on days he doesn’t nap my alone time is shortened by shouts from his room. “Mom is quiet time done yet?!” and “I’m getting so bored.” He even tries to lay on the guilt. “I’m scared in here alone!” Followed by a couple of convincing sobs.
But mostly my heart aches because Max and I have a tradition. I am a devote napper myself. An early riser and a huge proponent of the power nap.
Most afternoons we cuddle up with a book. “You pick,” he says. I show him one.
“No not that one!”
“If you don’t like the one I pick than you need to get up and get one yourself.”
We have this conversation everyday. Max likes repetition.
After the story I ask, “Do you want to sleep with me? or play by yourself in your room?”
This extroverted child 9.5 times out of 10 replies, “Sleep with you.” We both burrow in and close our eyes. Fifteen minutes later I wake up and sneak out. Ready for an hour or so of uninterrupted time.
Twice this week he didn’t fall asleep. I fell asleep, woke up, and found his brown eyes staring back at me. I cuddled with him for another half hour, silently praying that he would sleep. Once my prayers were answered. Once they weren’t.
Taking a nap with him only works if we both sleep. I feel too guilty making him stay in his room after he’s already been lying down for awhile, and I need some quiet time. So it’s time to start severing the ties.
I stared at him as I tried to get him to sleep and thought, “This, if not the last, is one of the last times I will get to take a nap with my boy.” I tried to memorize the moment. the way his eyelashes contrast with his cheeks and the scattered freckles across his nose.
I am grateful that I was aware enough to savor that moment a little bit. There are a million lasts that I don’t remember.
The firsts are permanently lodged in my mind like an anchor. The lasts often slip by in the busyness of the days. The sneak past without warning or announcement.
I don’t remember when…
the last time Josh jumped off the bus into my arms so excited to see me. Or ran up to give me a ginormous hug when I walked into his classroom.
The last time Anna slept in a headband. (She used to be obsessed with the things.)
The last time I rocked each of my babies to sleep.
The last time Josh lined up all his trucks in a perfect row.
or when Anna’s obsession with the eenzy weenzy spider ended.
One of my goals this new year is to be more peaceful. It means stopping to listen and be there for my family, neighbors, friends and strangers. It means prioritizing and not over scheduling. It means most days all the things on my list don’t get done. It means taking time for the things that are essential for my soul, and it means being present in the moment so I will be occasionally aware enough to notice the lasts.
Last night I snuck upstairs to take pictures of my kids before I went to bed. Two are sleeping, one is faking. Can you guess which is which?