Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lullaby Kai


Every night my son puts himself to bed.  Really. By 8:30 every night he announces that he is tired and is going to bed.

I don't know about you, but that seems awfully strange for a 5 year old. Especially when it is like pulling teeth to get my 9 year old to go to bed at all.

We put his pajamas on around 7:30 and just wait it out.  We don't have to do much.  He'll announce it when he is ready.  In fact, just the other day, since it is Spring break and what comes with that is later nights, Brianna wanted to watch a movie around 8pm.  I told her that it wasn't a good idea because Kai would fall asleep and wouldn't be able to watch it with us, so we should wait until tomorrow.

He piped in, "Yep.  I will.  I'll fall asleep."

Tell me now, is this ordinary?

I didn't think so.

Kai has always been a napper. In fact, just this year when I was told that his preschool would be in the afternoon, I expressed how very bad that was to the school staff.

"He still naps,"  I stated matter-of-fact.
"Does he sleep at night?"
"Yes," I replied.
"Wow," they said.

But I couldn't do a thing about it.  His naps would have to be cut out entirely, and although my hesitation was apparent, we had no choice.

But with that came such fatigue that he begs to go to bed most nights.  We chalk it up to his rapid growth.  Uhmm...he must be growing faster than every other kid in the world?  For 5 years.  Faster than anyone else. Makes perfect sense.

But here is my real conclusion:  I am blessed.

I am blessed because when night falls and we ask each other, "Where is Kai?"  one of us undoubtedly answers, "I bet he's in bed."  And then we peek into his room and sure enough his covers are pulled up tight and he is surrounded by his stuffed animals as though he was a mama bear with her cubs.  Sometimes he asks for a story.  Sometimes I beg him to let me read one.  Sometimes he shoos me out...forcefully pushing my kissing face away and pulling his body to the wall away from me.

But I treasure those short moments.  The ones where my son doesn't need me to tell him to go to bed.  Because in those moments I see how fleeting motherhood is.  I see it in his sleepy eyes...how my time with him is short and how gradually his independence is shining forth.

I am blessed to know this now.  When he is only 5 years old.  His youth is fleeting and some day he will be putting himself to bed without my watch at all.  And someday when I ask "Where is Kai?" he inevitably won't be in his bed.  Or in my home.  I won't know where he is...because he is off to college and then on his mission and then with his own wife and children.  It pains me to know that he will not be asleep in his bed, but it is the truth.

This moment in time, when he sleeps, I am grateful to know that this time in our life is only temporary.  And that when I peek into his room every night when it is my time to retire... and pull his blanket over the body that has kicked it off.... and put my hand on his chest to feel his lungs breathe in and out, I should savor it.

Let me sing you one more Lullaby, Kai.  Just one more.

8 comments:

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

My 8 year old is exactly the same way! We can ask her what time it is and she'll says, "It feels like 8:17, almost time for bed!" And darn if she's not always spot on! She just gets herself ready and heads to bed all on her own. When we are out somewhere late she is always worried about getting home in time for bed and does NOT like it at all if we get home after her bedtime.

It is so nice, isn't it? Too bad not all of the kids could get that gene. . . .

Sue said...

My daughter was like that, too. And she still likes her sleep, at 33!

=)

Jocelyn Christensen said...

This is so sweet...I try to remember as well...

Debby said...

A boy beyond his years......I think he is a keeper. He can go to college when he is thirty, hah.

J said...

Mark put himself to bed his entire life. Honestly, you could replace Kai's name with Mark and everything would still be true. It was always endearing and adorable to see this little kid be so mature and put himself to bed.

Patty Ann said...

I have a little girl just like this. I love it. She is 10 and actually starting to grow out of it a little now. I really will miss the days of not needing to worry.

Charlotte said...

I have one out of my six that is this way. If you can't find him come bedtime, he might have already headed there on his own. I wish he could teach his siblings the same trick!

Molly . . . said...

This one made me cry - you do such a beautiful job of merging feelings with words. I find myself thinking about the fleetingness of this part of motherhood frequently. It is precious, and I want to treat it like the gift it is, not get stuck in whine mode when my little guys aren't cooperating or are "too needy". Thank you, friend.

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