Good Night Hug

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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.



Absolutely no.

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.


Sarah said...

Such a beautiful post, Leah! It's often hard to take a step back and realize how fragile life is and how important those seemingly annoying one more hugs really are.

J M Brown said...

I'm an avid reader, but dont comment much.this post really moved me.
A similar scene has played out at our home a few times, too many times, as we hear of another unthinkable tragedy.
We try to be so careful, but as we keep seeing bad things happen everywhere and to all people. To innocent children going to school and families running errands in nice suburbs.
After Sandy Hook I couldn't stop thinking about how many of those mothers and fathers had one of "those" days and rushed their kid onto the bus or out of the car and that was it. The last encounter. We have to parent and discipline, but I always try to remember how grateful I am to have my toddler there when he's acting extra TWO some days. I would give anything to live my hardest day with him again and again than lose him.
Beautiful post Leah

Erin said...

I am a puddle of tears reading this, Leah. Absolute same situation in our house all the time - multiple trips to the bathroom and requests for one more hug and kiss, every single night, and eventually, we have to put our foot down!

Or the worst is when we have to get mean and mad with him when he won't go to sleep, and then when he is asleep and looking so sweet, all I want to do is scoop him up and say I'm sorry for being mean! But it's part of parenting and must be done - they know we love them.

The senseless tragedies all around us are just too much to bear sometimes. We can only hold our precious kids so close every single chance we get.

Julie S. said...

Brayden, too, is a master of delaying bedtime. And there are nights when I feel guilty about denying him a hug or kiss-- and after Sandy Hook, I am the one that delays bedtime. Love this post, friend.

Unknown said...

I know the feeling, mama! I feel like I'm constantly going back and forth about what to do with Eli when he crawls in to our bed EVERY SINGLE night. Part of me wants to "lay down the law" and tell him he must stay in his room all night but another part of me thinks this won't last long and I should cherish snuggling next to my little boy for as long as I can.

Julia Goolia said...

Beautiful post, mama. Hug them tight indeed.

AJ said...

Hugs to you, friend. Bedtimes are hard around these parts most night too, but then before I go to bed and I peek in at Colin sleeping so peacefully, I always think to myself how cute and innocent and little he is and how much I love him, despite his stubbornness.

Megan said...

Totally can understand this. It's so hard to decipher if it's just another stalling technique of theirs, or if they authentically want/need a hug.

You're an amazing Mama, never forget.

Sarah Louise said...

I shouldn't have read that one in the middle of that cafeteria at work!!!! It reminded me of the boom "I'll Love You Forever."

Jared and I are quickly learning that evenings are tough and bedtime routines are important.

W said...

Life is so fleeting on this side of heaven. It's better to be aware of it and go in for that "extra" kiss when you need to than to take it all for granted.


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