At 3 am, I rolled over and Boy 2 was there, next to me and wide awake.
We don't cosleep around here, so this was an unexpected turn of life in the wee hours of the morning.
"I just can't sleep, Mama," he explained.
I knew if I sent him back to his own bed, I would drift effortlessly into dreamland. But with his restless body beside mine, I too was sleepless.
I thought back over the last few weeks. We have been scattered, busy with life and school and church, running at breakneck speed.
Boy 2 is always a good emotional barometer for our family. He is sensitive and perceptive, and when we life gets a bit wonky, he generally feels it most.
Yesterday he wanted his dad to come home early. Saturday he mourned me having to leave to go to a conference all day.
He accepts the reality that we can't always move at his preferred pace, but here we are at 3 am, and I knew he just needed time and some love.
He got a drink. I rubbed his back. He went potty. He rubbed my back. For an hour or so we were comrades of the night.
At 4:30 we walked the quiet hallway back to his room. I sat beside his bed, running my fingers through his hair. His eyelids drooped and opened for a few minutes. I wondered how many more years we have left of pure "boyness", before he grows into the self-assured thoughts and manners that come with adolescence.
I kissed him goodnight, and he called in whispers to me at the door.
"I love you, Mama. I hope you sleep well."
I blew kisses back, and tried to memorize the feel of his hair through my fingers, his hand gently rubbing my back, and the sight of his eyes closing in blissful rest.
Two hours later, I woke a bit groggy to him smiling beside me.
"I went right to sleep after you left, Mama," he informed me, then a long pause followed by his most earnest and truth-telling voice. "I love you, Mama."
The barometer seems to be put back in its right place. My heart is full, and the forecast says that today the skies will be clear and blue....