Every night at bedtime, after stories have been read and prayers have been said, my boys ask the same question:
"Will you lay down with me?"
Almost always I lay down with Robbie because he won't fall asleep unless I am there. Bad habit, I know. But I must confess that I love snuggling up next to him -- me on the pillow and him with his head directly on the mattress because using a pillow "makes me have bad dreams, Mom."
Generally, he's asleep within a few minutes, and often I am too. It's that little power nap that fuels my night owl tendencies.
On the nights that I don't actually fall asleep with Robbie, I go downstairs to shoo Charlie up to bed next. Often when Charlie asks me if I will lay down with him, I decline citing work to catch up on or dishes and laundry to do -- or though I would never say it out loud, the Biggest Loser to watch. Besides, I tell myself, he's 9 years old and he doesn't need his Mommy in order to go to sleep.
However, lately, I've been more and more aware of how short this time is, when they are young and want their Mommy. So tonight when Charlie asked if I would lay down with him, I said yes.
I'm not sure how much time passed before I fell asleep. But, apparently, Charlie did not fall asleep at all. After some time -- about 20 minutes is my best guess, I felt him nudge me.
"Mom," Charlie said in a loud whisper. "Mom, you don't have to lay down with me anymore."
"It's all right, honey. I'll stay."
"No, Mom. It's ok," he said, trying to let me down gently. "Besides, your snoring is so loud I can't sleep."
I think his Dad paid him to say that.