Last night our evening schedule was put off a bit, by enjoying a dinner at Levi and Bethany's. We didn't leave much later than we anticipated and we still got the boys off to bed within 30 minutes or so of their regular bed time, but as every parent knows, it was enough.
Isaac comes up with every reason under the sun to delay bedtime as it is, from going to the bathroom again to needing to give us "just one more hug and kiss." To eliminate the appeal of going to the bathroom countless times, we've told him that he doesn't need to ask. If he needs to go to the bathroom, he just needs to simply go and immediately return to his room.
The final good night hug and kiss though, that one proves so much more difficult. Some nights if I let him get "just one more," it turns into a string of a half a dozen requests to give "the last one, okay mama?" It is such a hard request for me to deny though. I mean honestly, to hear my almost 4 year old practically begging to give me "just one more" hug and kiss . . . I'm stubborn, but I can't completely steel my heart.
Last night though, I did it. On his 2nd request, I shot him down.
He'd been to the bathroom 3 times and ultimately peed on the floor because there was too little to actually make the stream to the bowl. I was annoyed. I was tired. I was exasperated.
And I denied him any additional hugs or kisses.
He didn't break down into a fit of hysterics by any means. He expressed his disappointment and moved on. Soon enough, he was asleep. Tony continued to watch the Wild game and I completed some business tasks. Before long, I readied myself for bed and went to head upstairs to go to sleep. That's when Tony told me about the absolute senseless random shooting in a nice suburb across the Cities from us that resulted in a 10 year old boy being killed. A 33 year old man stood in the middle of the street and opened fire on random vehicles.
Just like that. A life truncated.
Motherhood has changed me so much, but I can guard my heart very effectively. I sadly acknowledged the news and continued to bed, resolving to pray, but not wanting to alter my plans for bed. As soon as I laid down, the flood of thoughts could not be stopped. I was overwhelmed with anguish for this boy and his family, of which no details had been provided.
And like a ton of bricks it hit me that I had denied Isaac a final hug and kiss..
Like a bolt, I was out of bed, descending the stairs with tears in my eyes. Tony tried calling me to the couch, but the only thing I wanted was my boy, in my arms. He continued to sleep as I drew him up out of bed and Tony came into the room as I sat down in the chair with him.
I didn't feel guilty for parenting as I saw fit that night. I know there isn't anything wrong with my saying no. I wasn't trying to right a wrong.
I just needed to draw my arms around my oldest, feel his shallow sleeping breaths continue in rhythm and love on him, for the mother who wasn't able.
And so I held him, Tony sandwiching him between us, as he prayed for the little boy lost.