“But mom, you always take soooo long to put Colby to bed.” Sharing can be so hard to do, especially at the end of the day, bedtime. And especially when it’s your mama’s affection or maybe protection. Maybe both. Their six-year-old long-legged bodies laying on the floor makes them look so big and so old, yet so innocent still. Like giant babies that have played so hard and waited on that summer sun to set, dodging bedtime, end of the day time. One of them said last week, “it’s not bedtime if the sun is still out.” I agree. It’s hard to lay down when the moon has yet to make a noticeable appearance. And there are no stars yet. How can you say, “I love you to the moon…and all the stars too” if they’re not even out to act as a real-life backdrop. There are toys scattered all over the place. One boy with a Spider-Man slipper on his hand, and his head propped up on his little chair.

I lift the first one up to his bed and whisper next to his ear, “I came back. I love you.” I tuck him in his bed, he doesn’t wake up. I watch the other boy sleep for a bit on the floor in his mismatched, too small of pajamas. He looks so peaceful despite his completely uncomfortable body positioning. I pick him up, hold him so close and walk up the ladder to his top bunk, balancing him the best that I can. How did he get this big? Where do six years go? I can’t let this be the last time I carry his sleeping body to his top bunk bed. Nighttime, sleeping time, can be the most precious time of the day. It’s quiet. I feel so grateful and lucky. And worried that soon they will not ask me to come into their room after I put their little brother to bed. Don’t grow up so fast, I think. I hope. Every once in a while I need to be shaken a little. Pause. Just. Stop. Reminded of the enormous gift of these three little boys living under our roof. Depending on us. It can be challenging to recognize it sometimes in the chaos and never-ending energy of the sunlight hours, but at nighttime, it’s so obvious. They are amazing and beautiful and unique and irreplaceable. And I get to be their mom.

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