Sometimes I think I can’t wait for the days when Mark and I just send the kids upstairs to put on their own pajamas and brush their own teeth and then we’ll show up ten minutes later for a quick kiss and tuck into bed (it does work like that, parents-of-twelve-year-olds, doesn’t it?). Instead we get a long, drawn-out routine with coaxing and stories and songs and snuggles and lingering moments in bed. And when I think of it like that, then I don’t want these days to end at all.

Bedtime can sometimes be the nicest part of the day (and no, I’m not just talking about the after part). Lying in bed with one child or other, based on our rotating mom-or-dad pattern, after the last book has been read and the light is turned off . . . these are our golden moments. Austin just gets silly, starts talking nonsense but in a fully passionate and engaged way, like last night when he peeked under the covers and exclaimed, “Nice feet, Mommy! Get them at Quality Market?” First of all, I don’t have nice feet — come one, those of you who know me well know you’re laughing right now — and Quality Market is our less-than-fabulous grocery store in Chautauqua, so the whole thing is just plain silly. But he was so darn cute about it. And he loves to ask about our day: “How Mommy day?” or “How Mommy bike ride?” or “How Mommy meeting?”

And Braedan, my endless talker, loves this last chance to recount every glorious detail of his day. He tells all his stories in the present tense so you can be part of the action (or so he can relive it): “So here I am, running down the driveway and then — bam! — Nolan appears on his bike and then . . . ” He also uses bedtime as his chance to talk about whatever he’s afraid of or nervous about. And this is a kid who’s eager to please and concerned about doing what’s right (classic first child), so the list of fears and worries can be long. This is our quiet time, no distractions, nothing more important to do than lay there dissecting what might happen if he gets something “wrong” at Safety Town.

I’ve always loved these last lingering moments with them, rocking a baby to sleep in my arms, whispering lullabyes in the ear of my toddler and now calming the growing fears of my growing boy. This is my last chance, before I head back down to finish all the tasks I never manage to finish during the day, my last chance to just be mom. 

I went searching for a picture of one or both boys sleeping and somehow came up with this one ... of Braedan when he was 3 weeks old!

I went searching for a picture of one or both boys sleeping and somehow came up with this one ... of Braedan when he was 3 weeks old!