it starts as an innocent intruder in the middle of the night. he isn’t the scary kind that you immediately defend against, but more the precious kind that comes seeking comfort from his favorites. he snuggles up and makes himself comfortable.
you vow to end this. right now. but, before long, you don’t even wake to the intrusion. instead, you find yourself waking nose to nose with the invader himself (and, in a “it-won’t-be-like-this-for-long” kind of way, you love the sleepy-eyed smiles, the good morning whispers, those moments).
and then he’s scared. and you believe him. and you should, because he is. instead of him being the intruder, he is scared of an intruder. and of wind. and of dark. and of being alone all the while. things that are real, and things of which you are sometimes afraid. and you are the grown-up! so you stay. just once. and while it helps, it only makes it that much harder to do it alone the next night. and so you stay…even closer. but just once.
you encourage. you dispel. you turn on lights. you talk. you pray. you recite God’s word. you hug. you remind of God’s promises. you kiss. you speak truth.
but it’s fear. and it’s strong. and it’s just like real. and you want so bad to take it away. so you stay. but you know it won’t stop with just once.
your once great sleeper has hit another snag…the bigness and wide-open of the new bed, the lingering summer sunshine that causes sleep to come slowly, the awareness of reality and the growing imagination making fears grow up fierce.
this parenting stuff? it’s hard. because it is both comforting in the short-term and equipping for the long-term. it is deciphering the difference between what feels best and what is best. it is caring deeply for the present, but preparing for the future. it is correcting behavior while addressing the heart.
and this is only bedtime.