It used to happen all the time, I'd be sound asleep and dreaming, and something would jar me awake, the sound of my son's voice. "Mom?," it would come ringing out, and if I didn't answer right away, again, more insistently, "MOM! Can I come and sleep with you?" I'd roll over and mumble something vaguely in the affirmative, and he'd come plodding out, plop his pillow next to mine, and climb on up, bonking me in the head with the current favorite stuffed toy. Inviting the kidlet to sleep with me is a mixed blessing. He's not the most considerate of nighttime companions. He wiggles. He kicks. He ventures towards the middle. If he has to pee, he announces that loudly, too, and turns on the bathroom light, which floods my room and finds its way beneath my shut eyes. On the other hand, having him near, being able to reach out and feel him there, listening to him breathe, are all deep pleasures of motherhood. He is close and safe and all is right with the world.
When he was a baby, he slept in bed with me almost all the time. Sometimes the only way he would sleep was if I lie down on my back with him on my chest, a position I resisted at first fearing it was unsafe. In those delirious disorienting first weeks of motherhood, however,exhaustion usually won out and I fell back relieved. I admit that I loved feeling him there, curled up against my heart. As he got older, our relative poverty dictated our living situation, which has graduated from a room in a shared house, to a studio apartment, to a not-quite-two bedroom. He has a big boy bed now complete with Spider Man sheets, and his own lava lamp along with a gajillion books and lego pieces in his very own room. He asked for and got an alarm clock for Christmas this year, too, and he loves to wind it up each night and pull out the pin in back that will make it ring the next day. As often as not these days--the stress of his recent illness perhaps--the alarm goes off in an empty room. I'll be sitting at my computer after my shower, and I'll look over and see a ruffled head emerge from my sheets. "Mom? What's that noise?"