I crawl in between flannel sheets toasted to the right temperature by my electric blanket. I situate the pillow just so. I grab my worn teddy bear (don't judge). I reach a hand out for Frink. We lie together holding hands in our warm bed waiting for sleep to take us.
No one needs me. I can focus on much needed sleep to restore my body and revive my spirits.
It should be my favorite time of day.
But it is not.
Instead I lie with one ear open waiting for the inevitable cries of the Lion cub. Baby monitor or not, I can hear every cry or movement coming from his room downstairs. Sound travels well in our house and my ears are attuned to his calls.
It might just be a whimper, searching for his nanny blanket. Or it could be an incessant call of "Momma, Momma". I could hear his feet hit the floor as he runs to the door searching for us. I hear him fumble with the door handle, and his fists hitting the door in frustration when he realizes he cannot open it. The worst is the screams, the sounds of night terrors.
Night can be scary for a little one. They are in their most vulnerable state. Memories can surface, the loss of a parent, the loss of a home, the loss of a womb mate, the loss of everything familiar. Those memories would cause a disturbance in any of us. We would seek comfort, the knowledge that we are not alone. We would want to know that we are loved.
Because I don't know what causes the cry, I get out of bed and trudge down the stairs to comfort him. He needs his sleep. It is my job to make sure that he feels safe and secure enough to sleep. There are times when the only comfort I can give is a place in my bed.
There are those who would judge me. You are doing it wrong. He needs to learn to sleep on his own. He should cry it out. I've heard those voices, sometimes in my own head but I know they are wrong. I know what I am doing is right for right now. It won't last forever. He has only been home for eight months, he needs this. I need this.
So there are nights when he wakes multiple times and I only see three, four or five hours of sleep. Sometimes several nights in a row. Sometimes I can't remember when I last slept more than two hours in a row.
But there are nights, more common now, when he will sleep for eight or nine hours in a row. These are the nights which give me hope. These are the nights in which I can dream.