“Sleep on my ground” he says with pleading eyes like a puppy begging for a treat. I check the clock it’s 9:04. Well past bedtime. He’s asking me to sleep on the floor next to his crib while he drifts off to sleep. The problem is, we’ve already been at this bedtime game for far too long and I’m ready to wind down with my husband. 6 books 4 songs and 2 bathroom trips later, we’re so close to tying this night off and yet, he won’ let go.
I think to myself: boundaries. We’re establishing them now. I have to be firm. Tough. I gently lay him down and remind him of the countless bedtime procedures we’ve executed and that it’s getting too late for mommy to sleep on his ground. I’m holding steadfast to that promise I made to my husband that the evenings would be ours. I can tell he’s displeased, and tears begin to well in his eyes. He watches me longingly as I turn on his fan and shut off the light. “Goodnight Finley.”
On the other side of his door the Mom guilt rushes in and floods my senses. Did I do the right thing? Am I withholding? Where is the line between loving and spoiling? Because I certainly can’t find it in this moment. I’m standing in the hallway questioning myself, as I do countless times throughout the day, when I hear his small, sweet voice.
“Excavator, dump truck, backhoe, bulldozer.”
My little boy loves trucks. All day we’ve been playing with trucks. We sang truck tunes and memorized the songs. We strolled the neighborhood to see the trucks building houses. We read truck books. I hear it. All of my Mama efforts, replaying in his mind, now pouring out just before he falls asleep. My entire day was dominated by trucks and that’s okay, because I love that child. And loving him is the best thing I can do for him.
I feel liberated from the guilt long enough to walk away from his room and finally, join my husband on the couch.