It's been a long time since I've had to get up in the night for anything. After so many years of getting up with nursing babies and sick or sad toddlers, it's been very nice getting a full night's sleep most of the time.
But last week, Silas had croup and woke up having a hard time breathing. I spent chunks of two nights sitting in a steamy bathroom helping ease his breathing, getting him drinks and letting him sleep by me in Jared's spot, his loud wheezing making it hard to sleep much. Then the last few nights, it was Oliver's turn to be my night-time buddy as he went through the same horrible coughing and scary hard-to-breathe stuff.
I've been REALLY tired and I now appreciate my generally un-interrupted nights of sleep all the more now. But you know what? There's something pretty precious about your own sweet little child needing you so much in the night.
Sure, it was frustrating to be awoken with various requests and scared cries again and again after just barely getting back to sleep. But during this bout of illness, as I realized how seldom this happens anymore, I felt such a tenderness and love for my beautiful little boys who are growing up too fast. I loved feeling them cling to me as the breathing problems seemed scary and having them relax in my arms as the steam soothed them. My heart was soft and full as I heard them say in their cute little voices, "can I sweep wiff you in case I have that bweathing pwobwem again? I'm scared." I loved having them reach over to hold my hand as we fell back to sleep - their little hands fit so nicely within mine. I loved holding them close when they needed it, their little cotton-top heads nestling just right beneath my chin.
I'm so glad I don't have do these crazy tired night-time activities much any more. But there is something so beautiful about a little hand in the night that finds its way into your hand and holds on tight.