Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Safest Place In The World

I have a major crush on my bed. I adore it and find myself thinking about it and wanting to spend more and more time with it. I pine for it when I am away from it because I have become such a bed/linen snob that no other bed/linen can measure up. Our bed evolved back around the time I was pregnant with Junior when we made the dual discoveries of memory foam and high thread count sheets and wondered how we slept before? Then the magic blanket came to us for 20$ at a second hand store. The magic blanket was a goose down duvet in pristine condition and when covered with a perfectly worn pottery barn cover it was heaven to sleep under. It was thicker, fluffier and softer than any duvets we were ever able to find again and of course the magic blanket had no tags left. It might be the blanket version of manna from heaven. All I know is that I have been unable to find its equal in the last several years that I have searched. Junior and Bubba both spent every nap as babies cradled in the plushy folds of the magic blanket (find the baby if you can...)

When we upgraded our bed to King size, we got a new duvet which didn't quite cut it and soon added a second. The original Magic Blanket (which was only queen size) was retired to be brought discreetly along on any business over-nighters or family trips to recreate our bed crush. I sat through more than one late night wrapped up in it on the couch with a sick child. We brought it to more than one drive in movie and it came to the hospital with us when we had Bubba. I brought it into the bed with me during the first awkward weeks after J's first revelation. I know now why big fluffy blankets are referred to as comforters.

I still love my bed, but there is no denying that there is a yawning no-man's land on the other side. I have yet to sleep in the middle (although I might if I weren't needed for kid-calls in the night and it is easier to roll out when you are near the edge.) During my marriage, I would often wake up and try to turn over to find that J, who slept resting his head on his arm, would have his hand and forearm taking over 3/4 of my pillow. It was only ever mildly annoying to have to move it out of the way, but every time I did, the thought would cross my mind that if his arm was there, then the rest of him was also solidly, reassuringly there and that I would far rather have him snoring peacefully next to me and taking up my pillow than anywhere else. I would go to back to sleep feeling safe on more than one level. Who knew I could be so practical, yet cheesy, in several seconds of half asleep awareness? But it was a consistent thought and I am glad that it occurred to me because I was happy then.

These days, I don't sleep alone. My boys, who have inherited my passion for quality bed linens, like to sleep in my bed because it is "the most comfortable" and it is also a place where they don't believe they can have bad dreams. I sincerely hope that theory works for them because I know it doesn't for me. So, I find myself breaking the iron-clad rule that J and I used to have about not encouraging our kids to sleep with us (bad dream nights usually had me curling up in bed with whichever boy needed it until they fell asleep). I gave up a month or two ago when I would wake up every morning to at least one small boy curled up and snoring in their dad's place, a scary dream given as the reason for the nighttime intrusion. Junior recently told me that when Dads leave, their spot in the bed is for little boys who have bad dreams. I haven't pushed that one, but I do give him J's spot whenever he wants it. Most nights he wants it and I let him call the shots on that. Bubba likes to crawl between me and my body pillow and snuggle his head up under my chin. If he can't wake me up or manage that, he crawls in the other side and curls up against my back. Sometimes Sis joins us. Either she instinctively knows she is missing a party, or gets nostalgic for all the months I kept her sleeping in my room after her dad left, telling myself that I needed her on hand to nurse, but really needing another breathing soul in a room that was suddenly too quiet. She spends a few hours with us before being bundled back to her own room. I don't get much sleep when the storm of all three hits but there is an indescribable peace during those moments when the house is quiet and I am cradling all three of my babies who still need me for now. Our little family, peaceful and whole as it can be for the moment.

It's a king sized bed, but Bubba can take up most of it when he isn't feeling cuddly. It's like sharing a bed with an eggbeater. On these occasions, I have to remove small digging toes from my back or side and readjust him so that he is vertical to his pillow, not horizontal. Recently, I have recognized a familiar feeling when I am shifting 38 pounds of little boy back into his own territory. Although I am mildly annoyed to be awake, I am grateful for presence of my little men (and the dirt/graham cracker/sunscreen smell that seems to always cling to them no matter how clean they are). I am proud that they come to me when they are scared and that where I am at night is the safest place in the world. All too quickly they will learn that there are no such thing as monsters under the beds and will stand more and more on their own as men. As they should. I know I will miss the time when Mom could make anything ok, so I will enjoy it now, even if it means that 3 out of the 4 beds in the house are empty most of the time and we all sleep pioneer style (except in Pottery Barn sheets - try them! You will become a snob too, I promise). It takes a lot of love and peace emanating from my three little chicks to fill that empty spot in the bed. And although I would rather they had no worries, a part of me is glad that they seek solace because in doing so, they help me neutralize some of my own nightmares too.

Someday soon, giving Mom a simple hug is going to be lame, much less extended cuddling. To be honest, by that point it will be fine and just how it should be. But I have a feeling that I will always remember with more than a tinge of nostalgia, Junior waking up and leaning in until he is inches from my face and whispering "mom! Did you have good dreams? I need some water." Bubba usually dispenses with the friendly chitchat and goes straight for "I need some breakfast." Every night, I offer to tuck them into their own beds and nearly every night they decline and for now I am ok with it.

There is still time for them to learn to banish their own bad dreams...


  1. I totally agree. For some reason, sleeping in my bed is THE place to avoid bad dreams and my daughter usually ends up there at some point during the night. My twelve year-old son comes to my room when he has bad dreams too and though I don't let him sleep in my bed anymore, I love the fact that he can come visit me when he is scared and and needs to talk about it. I encourage him to pray, give him hugs and he returns to his bed. Oh, and I still sleep on one side of the bed too..

  2. Old habits are hard to break, right? :-) Too bad there is no nightmare-free zone for the grown-ups too!