Since becoming a mother, I’ve been making a slow descent into insanity. I think it’s fair to say I’m irrevocably changed by this whole parenting thing. My mind no longer works the same way it used to.
For the most part, I’m OK with this change, and welcome the new perspectives parenthood has given me; but every once in a while I’m surprised by my own feelings. Last night was one of those times.
Last night was the first night my son wanted to sleep in his own bed, in his room, by himself. He’s slept by my side every night since we brought him home, so this was a big deal.
I did my best to hide my excitement when he proudly announced his decision to sleep in his room. I’d been dreaming about the freedom of this moment for months.
With Netflix on my mind, I took an inventory of the pantry, selecting the perfect post-bedtime snack. I was going to lay in bed, alone, and watch all the things, maybe even stay up late to celebrate this unprecedented event.
I helped my son collect his stuffed animals and move his pillow from my bed to his. He climbed in, put his little feet under the covers and that was it—no fussing.
He was ready.
“Good night, Mommy. I love you.” He said, in the sweetest little man voice. And that’s when it happened—I saw it. He was growing up, right in front of me.
I kissed him goodnight and walked back down the hall to my room, but I didn’t hear Aretha Franklin belting out the lyrics to Freedom like I thought I would. I climbed in my now empty bed, and as I processed what had just happened, I suddenly realized—I was sad.
This unwelcome sadness was completely unexpected, and quite frankly, a little annoying. I was alone in my bed—exactly what I had wanted. There were no kids pushing against my back or hogging my favorite pillow. There weren’t mountains of stuffed animals to wrestle, or cold feet under the covers. It was just me, and in that moment I realized just how crazy motherhood has made me—I missed co-sleeping.
I had been waiting for this moment for years, and now that it had finally arrived, I was too miserable to even enjoy a Zebra Cake. There is no explanation for this type of madness, except to say, motherhood screws with you.
I sat in the darkness, alone with my crazy, and my sadness. I tried to read, but my mind was distracted. I wandered back down the hall to check on my son. He was sleeping peacefully, unbothered by my absence. It was clear, I was now the dependent co-sleeper, not him.
I returned to my bed, tossing and turning for the better part of an hour, when I heard it—the thunderous steps only a toddler can make as they barrel down a long hallway in the middle of the night. He was dwarfed by the load of stuffed animals in his arms, a blanket dragging behind him, as he stumbled sleepily to my bedside.
I scooped him up, laid him next to me and we both drifted off to sleep within minutes. Maybe he’s not ready after all, but as it turns out, neither am I.