Wow.  We've come a long way haven't we?  Sleep is such a vital part of life, such an integral part of parenthood.  We are so focused on our children getting enough and we ourselves never having enough.  Days are planned around sleep schedules...wake up times, nap times, bed times.  Then before we know it we've entered a different phase of life and sleep (or lack thereof) becomes a bonding time.  Our girls have long shared a room and enjoyed the intimacy of relationship that comes with it.  I recall room sharing as a kid...the closeness that comes with it as well as the built in challenges.  Sleepovers are just the next phase of that evolution, I suppose.  A time of bonding.  I don't remember my first sleepover (bet my mama does though!) but I do remember sleepovers.  I was about the age my girls are now...spending the night was *the thing to do* with my group of friends in the third grade.  I don't remember being nervous (but again, I bet my mama does!), but I do remember lots of fun nights with my girlfriends, stretching into my high school years.  Heck, there's still something fun about a girls' night out in town where a bunch of women crash together in a hotel room and stay up way too late giggling!

We've dabbled in the world of sleepovers before, but it has always felt to me more like dipping our toes in the water.  The girls have stayed with family, a few miles away, able to come home if things didn't work out.  Things have almost always worked out, which for my cautious ladies has been a good thing.  This weekend though, we dove headfirst into the world of sleepovers.

We headed into town to attend a Christening and visit some friends.  We did both and even visited a local swimming pool with three little girls...a sure-fire way to tire out the kids, especially when you add in a water slide like we did!  After all this excitement, our friends graciously offered to keep the girls with their daughter while we went out to dinner.  We accepted the offer and then (as usual!) found ourselves a bit lost without the junior members of our family.  We certainly had fun, though!  When we returned we were greeted with big smiles and, "Puh-leeeeaaase, can we have a sleepover?".  After clearing it with all the other involved parties we gave our blessing and loaded up and headed back to Whittier.  Before the car door had even closed my stomach was in knots.  Scott and I talked about it on the way home and I came to discover something.  I wasn't nervous.  I knew that they would have fun.  I knew they were excellently cared for.  I knew that no harm would come to them in any way.  I still don't know the exact word to describe my feelings...empathy is as close as I can come.  One of my ladies was close to tears as we left.  She wanted to do this with all of her heart, but she was a bit nervous.  And I know that feeling.  Oh boy do I know it well!  So although I knew she would have fun, I hurt for her in that moment...that moment when we fight past our fear to try something new.  This weekend it was sleepovers, in the future it's reports, presentations, and goodness knows what.  Rites of passage of a sort, I suppose.  Firsts.  A little bit scary, I told her, and a lot of fun.  It's that moment right there that tore me up on the way's letting them step away from you for a bit and the encouraging them to try something new where you can't 100% guarantee the outcome.  It's hugging them when you pick them up and it's all gone well, but it's also hugging them and comforting them when it didn't go they way they wanted.  It's the reassurance that, "You had a bad day, but you're not a bad person."  It's hard in a whole new way.  This post perfectly explains the hardness of mothering little's a little excerpt...

How was my day? Today has been a lifetime. It was the best of times and the worst of times. There were moments when my heart was so full I thought I might explode, and there were other moments when my senses were under such intense assault that I was CERTAIN I’d explode. I was both lonely and absolutely desperate to be alone. I was saturated- just BOMBARDED with touch and then the second I put down this baby I yearned to smell her sweet skin again. I was simultaneously bored out of my skull and completely overwhelmed with so much to do. Today was too much and not enough. It was loud and silent. It was brutal and beautiful. I was at my very best today and then, just a moment later, at my very worst. At 3:30 today I decided that we should adopt four more children, and then at 3:35 I decided that we should give up the kids we already have for adoption. Husband – when your day is completely and totally dependent upon the moods and needs and schedules of tiny, messy, beautiful rug rats your day is ALL OF THE THINGS and NONE OF THE THINGS, sometimes within the same three minute period. But I’m not complaining. This is not a complaint, so don’t try to FIX IT. I wouldn’t have my day Any.Other.Way. I’m just saying- it’s a hell of a hard thing to explain- an entire day with lots of babies. 
But now.  Now is different.  Now is when they are their own people having their own experiences away from me.  No more can I shield them from the harshness of the world.  I know I should not and in my head I do not want to (here's why)  But my heart!  Oh my heart does not always agree with my head.  My heart wants to take the fear and the embarrassment from them.  My heart literally hurts when I watch them fight through that moment of uncertainty and come out on the other side.  I honestly have to sometimes hold my own hands to keep myself from interfering in a situation and fixing it for them!  It is hard.  And yet.  Just like when they were little and I wouldn't have traded it, I still wouldn't change it.  Every one of those moments builds their character.  And mine too.  We're in it together...learning today what we'll need for tomorrow.  My motherhood motto from way back when we brought home our first newborn...I'll learn enough today to get through tomorrow.  It has worked so far...


  1. So PROUD of you girls having a sleepover with some fabulous--nice people. :-) You were in good hands. :-)


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