The Boy has been sleeping over, all by himself at Beema’s house, otherwise known as his grandmother. It’s not like he hasn’t slept there before. We have lived there on several different occasions for months at a time. This year he started sleeping in the “BIG BOYS ROOM” with his uncles on the trundle bed.
So when we were there for our second Friday night dinner after moving to our own place, he naturally assumed after I got him out of the bath and into his jammies, (in anticipation of going straight to bed when we got home) that he was going to sleep at Beema’s that night.
I said “no” at first and then on further reflection thought, “Why not?” So after making sure it was okay with Beema, and the boys, my brothers in law, whose room he would be sharing, I sat him down to make sure that he knew what he was asking.
“Mommy and Daddy will be driving home now, are you sure you want to stay here and sleep without us?”
“Umm, yep.” This said brightly with a firm upward lift of his chin that means his mind is made up, followed by vigorous nodding.
“Well try to imagine how you will feel when it’s dark and the lights are out and you ONLY have Beema to sing to you after Mommy and Daddy DRIVE AWAY!!”
“It will be good mom, I’ll be okay.”
“Are you sure?”
“Uh huh, so can I stay?”
“Well, okay… I guess we can try it.”
I am obviously much more traumatized by his casual step toward independence than he is. I walked past his open bedroom door several times that first night, constantly feeling like I was forgetting something, and then realizing that he wasn’t there and feeling slightly bereft again for a second or two. He went to sleep just fine, played all day until his dad picked him up at 3:00 in the afternoon, and didn’t act like he missed us at all. Though he did need an extra bit of holding when he hurt himself, which made me feel better.
Since then the sleep over at Beema’s has become a regular part of the weekend, and sometimes the week. It feels weird that it feels so normal. Beema told me that one night as he lay sleeping in their room as they got ready for bed the boys asked her if was weird that he was sleeping there and yet it’s not. The ages are close enough, only a 6 year gap between the youngest and him, that it’s almost as though he is their little brother and he’s graduated into their larger family out of our smaller one.
This is the blessing of living close to a larger family unit, and of trusting everyone in it, a luxury I know everyone doesn’t have. This is why we moved 3000 miles away from our old life and friends to be near our family. The way we and our children are engulfed, wrapped up in, and taken up by the family Beema and Grace have fashioned extends and enriches all of our lives in ways that, while expected, still delight and comfort us.
Even if I have to listen to my daughter recite at least a dozen names a night of the people she “wants” before she sleeps. How wonderful for her that she has that many grown-ups and older people in her young life to care about and have relationships with.