My Nightly Ritual

Posted on
Categories ParentingTags ,

My eyes are burning, stinging as I sit here typing. They are strained from pouring over a book; a good, soul-stretching one that is causing me to lose sleep. That is the way of a really good book. You fall into it, head first, and emerge with blood shot eyes and a deeper understanding of your own heart.

The book I am reading is about a little girl in need of a heart transplant. I do not yet know if she lives or dies. I find myself turning the pages eagerly, yet gingerly. I want to know what happens, yet my stomach is clenched, and I can’t help but to think of the two slumbering babes a dozen feet away.  Motherhood has changed me in innumerable ways, and one way is that I can no longer read or watch some of the things I did pre-kids. Law and Order SVU is out, as are really scary movies. I hide from the news of bad things happening to children, and shun violent television.  In my heart of hearts, I do not think these terrible and inhumane things are going to happen to my children. Yet, I know that even fictional characters have fictional mothers, and I can not separate my heart and mind. 

I guess I am softer than I used to be. I never want to be a “worrier,” but I find I am more easily alarmed than I used to be. It is as if all of my instincts are more sensitive.  I have studied and learned my children’s cries, their whimpers, their expressions, breathing patterns and normal temperatures. I alone know them better than anyone else in the world.

And yet, even when I am sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are okay when I lay them down to sleep, I can not stop myself from returning to their room, every single night. I creep in, often using the illumination from my cell phone as a guide. First I check on Jonathan, place my hand on his back to feel the rise and fall of his chest, or if he is restless, I crouch down and just listen for his little boy breathing.

When I am satisfied that all is well with my firstborn, I walk over to my little girl’s crib.  Faith likes to sleep bear-hugging her blankets. As she softly snores, I tug one of the blankets free, drape it over her cold feet, and whisper a prayer before leaving the room.  My children are close to 500 days old, and except for a few nights when we were away from each other, I don’t think I have missed a night.

I have tried to skip this evening ritual. I told myself that they were fine, that I didn’t need to bother them with the slivers of light from opening the door.  Invariable, I made it as far as my husband’s office, and had to turn around. There is something magnetic about a sleeping child. I simply can not help myself.

Ah, well, my eyes are even more tired now, and I am headed to bed. But not before creeping in to my little ones room, and making sure that all is well.

Good Night!

Share this...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0Digg thisShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someone

12 thoughts on “My Nightly Ritual”

  1. My oldest is almost 4 and a half…and I still check on him, make sure the room is not too hot or cold, re-cover him up, make sure that he is breathing. It never ends and is the best love imaginable.

  2. My girls are 3 1/2+ and I still do it too. I like to whisper, “I love you” to them and hope they can hear it in their sleep. Maggie often will smile in her sleep. I wonder if I’ll do it when they’re 16.

  3. I do this too. And I hear you on how news/movies/books strike me different than they used to. I definitely interpret everything as a mama now, and can’t separate that even from leisure reading or watching TV.

  4. Beautifully written post, I think this may be my favorite thing you’ve ever written. I too check on my boys every night. I can’t seem to sleep well until I see their peacefully sleeping bodies.

    I do love this new sense of empathy motherhood has brought to me.

  5. I’m with you! My guys will be 5 in 3 weeks and I still go in every night and do the same thing…check that they are breathing.
    I think for me it has a lot to do with the fact that they almost died…..twice. But regardless of reasons or circumstances, becoming a mother totally changes you.

  6. What a sweet post on a gray and sleepy day.

    Our household is not yet rested enough for your nighttime ritual. I’ve only checked on them a few times in my twin’s almost 8 months. Usually as soon as their down I either turn into a flurry of baby-free activity, blissful baby-free relaxation, or more often, hurry to sleep myself. Although they’re good sleepers, I’m petrified that I might disturb the delicate baby sleep. God forbid!

    But there are those times I just need to peek in. I know they’re ok, but I need to see it for myself. I need to know that bump I thought I heard wasn’t a physics-defying baby falling out of her crib.

    And right you are, keep the violent or injured child “entertainment” far away. Motherhood definitely changes TV choices!

  7. i do the same thing, cell phone light and all. i cannot help it, despite my love for my night ‘private’ time i just get sucked back into them…

    and i love to see their sleeping position. owen still sleeps sideways with his feet up on the crib sides now that he is so big. mason always looks like he crash landed. too sweet.

  8. I think this is the sweetest post—I’ve just never opened the door to the nursery after the babies have gone to sleep. Danny wakes up at the noise of the door opening and after months of struggling with sleeping issues, we don’t mess with sleep! We leave our sitters with strict instructions NOT TO OPEN THE DOOR. Seriously, one did once and all hell broke loose. She had to call in reinforcements. And has refused to sit for us since.

    I’d love to put the covers on them and kiss them. Hmm…someday.

  9. what a beautiful post, from the heart and written with love. i adore it krissy! motherhood has changed so much about me as well, 1st with lydia and now with james, ella & cameron. their births left me a different person and raising them has changed me even more. i check on everyone before i go to bed too, just to make sure they are ok and to watch those angelic faces slumber as they dream!

    (nowhave me dying to know what book you are reading as well!)

  10. It doesn’t ever end. I still go in my 13 yr olds room and cover her up and give her a kiss. She likes me when she is sleeping lol. The twins I go in and do the same, make sure they are breathing, cover them and place their binky’s in their hand in case they need it in the night.
    I can’t go to bed without checking on them.

  11. What a beautifully written post. I love watching my children sleep – they look like little angels. So peaceful. I think I love them the best then .I’ve been peeking in on them as the last thing I do each night before I turn in . Not sure when I’ll stop.

    No matter how crazy the day was, or how exhausted I am come evening when I just can’t wait to get them into bed so I can have some peace and quiet, an hour or so later and I’m peeking in. When they were tiny, I used to check if they were breathing. Now I make sure they’re covered up and not upside-down or on the floor etc :)

    Motherhood does change you. I can barely remember me before kids. Hallmark card commercials make me cry. I can’t watch scary or violent movies anymore. Half the time the news breaks my heart. If I see an obituary of a child, I start crying at the kitchen table. I just can’t even imagine…

    I think many women don’t realize just how much they will change – on the inside – after they have kids.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge