The next night proceeded much the same, the memory of the stinkbug trauma continuing to cause my Michael to need extra help falling asleep. My husband took one for the team and after several trips upstairs, decided it was easier to lay on the floor for a bit between our twin sons' beds while Michael settled in and fell asleep.
The troublesome nights continued long after the stinkbug memory had faded. Night after night I'd lay there, singing hymns, desperate for my son to fall asleep.
They're only little once, I kept telling myself.
Soon there will come a day when they won't ask me to sing and they'll have grown so big that there won't be room for me in the bed next to them, not that they'd even want there.
But soon, my patience began to wear thin. After several weeks of this routine, I was worn and tired. And my son's "demands" were only getting stronger and more involved. I needed a break. I intentionally left my boys' room before my husband (I am always the one who lingers) ad I heard him tell the boys that he would be the one coming back up the stairs on this particular night if they called.
And a small part of my heart broke in two.
As I kissed my girls goodnight in their room next door, I heard my husband return to my sons' doorway with a gentle yet stern reminder to get back in bed. As I walked down the hallway to the top of the stairs, I expected to see my son's brown eyes peering out from behind the door with an adorable plea for me to tuck him in and sing "just one song".
But I didn't. The door was closed. All was quiet.
And my heart broke again.
Downstairs, I found my husband dutifully starting the dishes. I looked at him and then at the clock. Was I really seeing him in an upright position and prior to 9pm? It felt like it had been months.
"So, did that go a little bit smoother for you?" he asked.
"Yes..." I said, undisguised reluctance in my tone. "It's so tough," I continued, "because so much of myself is saying: Just go in there. Sing the hymns. Give a few extra hugs and kisses. Fall asleep next to him. Because I know that day is coming when I can't.
My husband gave me a half-smile; the kind that seemed to say I love how tirelessly you love our kids.
"But I've missed you," he said.