Is it because I've been feeling just a little low and a little overwhelmed? Caught up with the sorrow in Queensland, full of the rain, feeling just a little (or a lot) overtaken by how much there is to do in our house…? Then there is the coming year. How will it go? Will I still run my Freedom Experiment? Will I trust enough, to truly embrace what that means? Will I manage running two writing workshops? When will we fit in music classes now my son is in a third band and there's going to be pottery classes, and the kids want to learn Italian? What about helping the Lego League team get to Europe? Will my boy be all right when the team goes off without him? Will I be all right?
So much, too much is in my head…It feels a bit tangled and some days my brain feels fuzzy. Not always, but enough that I think the kids might be feeling it. Perhaps they want me closer because of it.
Or, perhaps it's got nothing to do with me and everything to do with the creepy shadow puppet show we saw in Sydney the other day. Where the dude thought it would be excellent kid entertainment for the shadow scientist to do a lobotomy with a big serrated shadow knife, and transfer his shadow brain to the open shadow head of someone else. Woohoo! Yay! Perfect entertainment for kids 5 and up. My kids have each told me about the nightmares they are having, and they are 8 and 10 years old.
ANYWAY. This post is not about all that.
(Really? Don't we all want to go down the path of "Oh, the world is so difficult!" today?
Well, I'm not sure about you, but I know I don't!)
This post is about something else.
It's about what to do when both your kids say, two, or three, or four nights in a row:
"Mum, I wish I could sleep with you tonight," and, "I always sleep better when I sleep with you and Dad," and "Why can't I sleep with you?"
I reply with all the things I think I'm supposed to say.
"You'll sleep better in your own bed. There's not enough room for both of you in our bed. I want to have my own space—you're too big! And I can't sleep in your bed with you because I'm too big and none of us will get any rest."
(And underneath there's that feeling of, "I mustn't let them sleep with me; they're too old! And what a slippery slope that'll be, what if they get used to it, and both want to sleep with us for years? What if they're 3000 years old and still here?!"
…Ah, such helpful what ifs…always so reassuring…)
Then I pause. And I think, and I ask myself:
What if I just said, Yes?
Why can't I say, Yes? Why can't they both sleep with us when they want to?
Oh…my inner voice is saying: There's not enough room!
Well then, why don't I turn the big bed sideways and put in a spare bed? Easy.
Oh…now my inner voice is saying: One family shouldn't sleep in the one room! That's crazy talk!!
Well, why not? When the kids want and you can and you are so privileged it's actually an option not a necessity and it makes so many people sleep better and feel so happy, then why not?
Who made these rules we think we need to live by, anyway?
I know I didn't, but I still feel the need to adhere to them.
So, okay. This is what I'm saying to myself now:
Our kids want to sleep with us, sometimes. When they have had a rattled day, when the dark is too big, when what they want is to hear another person breathing in the same room. When they can reach out and feel my hand, just. there. and know everything is going to be all right.
Doesn't everyone want that, some days, and sometimes?
It's a human instinct, something we've tried to logic out of ourselves, but it's always there. A need for closeness, a need for contact, connection. It's a beautiful thing.
Am I listening to me? Hello?
Well, actually, yes I am.
I'm thinking now that I will say, Okay.
I'm thinking that instead of, or as well as, cleaning one bathroom…
I will turn one big bed around. I will get our spare bed from the study and put it next to our bed. I will say, "Hotel Us is open for visitors, if you want, when you want!"
Who knows what that will mean?
Well, I might think it's crazy tomorrow!
The kids might say, "Mum it's too bright! Too dark! Too hot! Too noisy 'cos Dad's snoring like a Wildebeast!" The kids might wriggle. They might kick me in the back. They might steal all the available space and my husband and I might end up dangling off the edges. We might be usurped and end up, each of us, in the kids' beds, in their rooms.
Oh, all these things and more MIGHT happen.
And they might not.
I say, Let's see!
Because tomorrow and the next second and the great big possible future are, all of them, different times from now. And I haven't lived any of them yet!
(oh, I donated to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal today. It wasn't so hard to do…and it felt right all the way through to my bones.)