I stood there for a moment.

With the fresh memory of a nap/quiet time gone wrong earlier today and a bedtime routine that was far from what I wanted it to be, I huffed up the stairs, a heavy sigh to myself as the 30 minutes of quiet had deceived me into thinking they were actually (can I say, finally?) asleep.  

But she called for me, and it sounded like she was sad.

And there I found myself. In the middle of their room, whispering into the dark to find out who it was that called out for “Mama".

My whisper was met with silence only.

And then the sound of one sleeping to my right, heavy breathing bordering on a snore.

I waited for the other one to answer, tuning my senses to the one on the left.  Perhaps she was scared of being in trouble?

Then the sound from her slumbering lungs added to the ambiance of the room.

They were both, unmistakably, asleep.

And there I stood.

Having just lumbered myself up the stairs, reenacting in my mind some less-than-stellar Mommy moment from earlier in the day, ready to remind them how this is not how it’s all supposed to go down.  Sleep means sleep.  Quiet means quiet.  Blah Blah.

And apparently, one of them was reenacting the day in her dreams.

Or was it her nightmare?

I felt the irony of it all as I stood in their room, between their two beds.  Armed and ready to hear yet another story of why the silence would elude me, yet again.  And there I stood, humbled by the quietude. 

There was too much good in this day for me to label it as a “bad one” even though I could list all the things I could have done better.  The things I could have said quieter.  The ways my reactions could have been less reactive.  They ways they could have behaved/listened better.  


And as I write, the one who sleep-spoke just sleep-shuffled downstairs, readily accepted the pillow and blanket at my side on the couch and shut her confused and half-closed eyes to find her sleep again.

Hopefully a more peaceful kind.

About as much as I yearn for tomorrow to be a better day than the one we had together today, just might be as much as she yearned to be right where she is now.  Right where the other one, too, fought so defiantly, so loudly, so persistently to be, instead of her bed, more than once today.  

As loud and frustrating and chaotic and choppy and disharmonious as this day felt, all they wanted was for us to be together in the quiet moments.  The same quiet moments that I fought so hard to enjoy in solitude, might have been the ones we needed to share together in order to turn this day around.  

And so I carried her 5 1/2 year old body, heavy with sleep, into my bed.  Back to their room for the 4 year old, who curled up like the baby she sometimes wishes she still was, limbs now long and lanky, I somewhat awkwardly placed her in my bed too.  Then I laid down in the middle.  Not as I had stood before, between their slumbering bodies, on edge as if a soldier at attention ready to fight in the name of silence; but relaxed, open and ready to have them find the warmth of my sides, one on the left and one on the right.  Together we will find the quiet we all yearned for today. 

And tomorrow will be a better day.   

 © Houseman 2013