Ever since my youngest was a baby, he and I snuggled at bedtime. At the beginning, it was because he nursed like a fiend and god forbid I should remove his source of sustenance. By default, I became his snuggie. He never attached to a blankie or any sort of stuffed animal. He attached to me. He needed me close to him..like, super close to him, in order to fall asleep.
Night time routines were always difficult with him. Because, I needed to stop what I was doing and, depending on where he was in his milestones..I had to either rock him to sleep or snuggle in his big boy bed with him until his little eyes fluttered closed.
I loved watching him. Not in a creeper way. But, I just loved watching his eyes as they got heavier to keep open. And then, I’d marvel over how his eyelashes touched his cheeks.
Well. Here we are. He’s 11 now. And, we are still in the same boat. My big boy baby.
We still snuggle at night. He holds my hand and talks to me about everything. I learn his secrets. His ideas. What’s going on in his world. He tells me everything at night, things he sometimes doesn’t want to share with me during the day.
It’s our time to really connect. To maintain our closeness. Because, he and I are very close. And that’s so important to me. I was close with my mom and I always wanted my children to feel about me the way I felt about my mom..when I wasn’t hating her! Those teenage years are tough, man. On everyone.
My husband isn’t too thrilled with the fact that I stay with my son until he falls asleep. For many reasons. Especially the fact that he’s 11 and how much longer is he going to need his mom next to him in order to fall asleep. I already made my son promise me that I won’t have to be snuggling with him on his wedding night because I really don’t think his future bride will appreciate that.
I get why my husband is getting annoyed with this, I really do.
But, I’m not sure either one of us are ready to give this up yet. It’s not time. My son still needs me to be right there with him. There is still so much going on within my little boy and he needs to unburden himself. And, I need to be there for that. I need to be there to help him make sense of some of the feelings and thoughts he’s having. To help him realize that they are normal or creative or whatever else they are. I need to be there to reassure him that those scary monsters he’s imagined are, indeed, his imagination.
He’s the youngest of five kids. Inevitably, he’s been exposed to things..video games, movies, stories..because he likes to hang out with his much older siblings. And, he wants to be involved in whatever they are doing or watching in their rooms. Sometimes, what they are doing or watching isn’t something my son, with his 11 year old brain, is able to truly process.
We try to monitor what the big kids are exposing him to but it’s not always possible to be a million places at once and things are watched or read that imprint in his forming brain. And boy, do they imprint. Which makes his imagination take gigantic light year type leaps into places that he’s unable to really make sense of. Violence in video games. Jump from your seat horror movies, and sometimes there’s sex.
I know. I see you shaking your head at me.
We’ve had discussions with the big kids. They think it’s funny. We don’t.
And that brings me back to nighttime snuggles.
Where he spills and I help him process.
Where he asks and I try to answer. Or promise to Google the next morning.
When he giggles.
When we laugh.
Until those eyelids get heavy.
And his impossibly long eyelashes settle on top of his cheeks.
When his breathing becomes even and the demons hiding under his bed don’t matter anymore.
That’s when I give him a kiss.
That’s when I whisper into his ear how much I love him.
And, I sneak out of his room and tiptoe to my own room.
Unless, of course, I fall asleep too.
And my husband has to tiptoe into the room to get me.
I don’t care if my kids are 11, 17, 18 or 19..
If they need their mom to snuggle with them so they can make sense of the world,
Then I’ll be there.
Until they are ready for me to not be.