Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sweet Dreams

Once a week I go to a park with my friends and their kids. We don’t always stay long, but we try to make it as often as we can. Today we talked about the rigors of bedtime. My friend mentioned that it was the worst part of her day! I think many mommies would agree.

I thought about how bedtime has changed a lot for our kids over the years. It once used to be, what I considered, horrendous. But it’s changed as our kids have grown and matured. It seems that their little minds and bodies now understand that sleep is actually a good thing. Phew!

And I got to thinking about our bedtime routine last night. It came to my mind in snapshots, and it was a beautiful picture.


An evening out with the family.
Train ride.
Smiles and snapshots.

Walk in the door. Commence bedtime routine.

Change into jammies.
One last cookie…pleeeease?”
Pick out clothes for tomorrow.
Brush teeth.
Change diaper #1.
Change diaper #2.
What? Go brush your teeth again. No more cookies. Seriously.”
Make lunches for school.
Potty for child #3.
Another cookie is missing. (Um, yep, that was me.)

Family Prayer
Family Hug


Callie went into her room to read some books while I laid Sammy down for bed. Sammy was pretty wired after a fun evening, but quickly molded into my body as I sat on her chair in the corner of her room. She wiggled and squirmed at first, but the Sandman accepted the invitation and came in as I brushed her hair to the side. She was quiet almost instantly and her breathing was heavy and deep. I held her longer than necessary so I could just capture the moment and relish her beautiful spirit.

Afterwards, I went into Callie’s room. We talked about the day, laughed a little, and I softly scratched her back before kissing her head and walking out the door. My heart was overflowing with love for her. See, no matter how rough our day has been, bedtime has become one of my favorite times of day. It wasn't always that way, but it is now. And actually, our days are filled with a lot more peace than they used to be as well. So it's nice to cap the day off with a beautiful reminder of the day and how much I love my little girl.

I put Micah to bed about an hour later. He’s two and still my baby. After brushing his teeth, we give Daddy a bedtime salute and walk down the dark hallway to his room where I sing a song of his choosing and kiss his forehead. I then use the spray bottle containing lavender oil onto his bed and over his head. He giggles. He loves being sprayed with the lavender and will ask for it if I forget. I shut the curtains, lay him down, and quietly say “I love you” as I walk out. Just before I shut the door, I hear “I love you” in a soft whisper. And I melt. He’s two. He’s crazy busy during the day. But bedtime is always calm and precious with this boy. It always has been. 

I remember when bedtime was frustrating. When kids got out of bed. When kids would cry. When it seemed there were endless trips to the bathroom. And endless need for a drink of water! When I dreaded bedtime because it tested my patience when my patience was already spent. And now…now it’s one of the highlights of my day because after the busy-ness of getting ready for bed, there is a tenderness that kisses our cheeks goodnight.

After that, my sleep is rewarding and sweet. 

I've thought about how certain trials can often feel like, well…the bedtime routine. It’s hard. Sometimes tortuous! We don’t look forward to it. We dread it. We want it to just end already. But there is hope. It will change. When? We don’t know. But after the struggle is over, there is a layer of frustration/despair/anger/hurt that is removed and we are filled with even more love and compassion and beauty than was previously there.

Maybe it’s a weak comparison, especially depending on the trial that is being faced. But hey, some people have REALLY challenging bedtimes!

I think of Samantha's disabilities. I think of my worries about some of Callie's struggles. I think of working through the adoption process again...glad we're on the path, but in a constant state of mild anxiety over not knowing. Some of the trials we have may never end in this lifetime. But the pain of them can end when we learn to hand them over to the Lord. It takes practice, because sometimes, I've been known to hand pain and sadness over to Him, and then take it back! How dumb is that?! But I'm learning. And when it's passed off, I am filled with a tenderness and light that fills my entire body and spirit. I feel lighter.

And at the end of the day, my sleep is rewarding and sweet.

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