The most wonderful part of yesterday was when I helped my youngest girl go to sleep. As I lay against her bed, she twirled my wedding ring on my finger for a few minutes. Then she turned over onto her tummy with her bum up in the air, and then flipped over to rest her head on the body pillow while snuggling my arm like her favorite teddy bear. The bedtime activity is akin to a little dog trying to find that perfect comfy spot. All the while, she is whispering some of the conversations and events of the day, talking it out as I softly say “shhh.” Finally, she surrenders to sleep, tangled in her covers and off her pillow with her wild red hair splayed around. I wish I could say that this is my favorite part of every day, this scene, this sweet moment of time. But the truth is that this portion of bedtime is usually not mine. It’s usually Daddy’s job.
For Anna and I can be so much alike at bedtime, restless, itching for conversation, for closeness and snuggles. I have always been the girl too wild and rowdy for my cat to snuggle upon, too intent on “the next thing” to slow down and just enjoy the moment. Even last night, as I lay against her bed with my arms draped over the side for her to tangle with, I had my headphones tucked in my ears, listening to internet radio. Multitasking, so to speak, so I could focus on my breath, on trying to be still for her, and to help pass the time in my mind. For without the music I become restless as well, her co-conspirator in staying up past her bedtime. Moving around too much, attacked by the itchy nose or focused on the fact that my foot has fallen asleep, and ultimately leaving the room before she is ready for me to leave which prompts her to tears, and resets the bedtime routine.
This Daddy-man, my better half no doubt, has bedtime patience in spades. He can sit and listen to her without speaking, silently affirming her desire to know he cares, he is there, and she can rest. He understands the importance of just being there. And he understands that the big girl in the next bed, needs this help also. If he can keep the little one quiet, she will drift off to sleep almost instantly, just like he does. He knows this routine like the back of his hand. He knows his girls.
We wish this very important man a happy birthday this week, and hope he knows just how much we adore him.