It was the night before my birthday and we were all gathered around in the living room winding down the day and starting our bedtime routines. Beginning with the youngest and working our way up the line with snuggles in the rocking chair, stories, 3 songs, hugs and kisses.
Our routine usually consisted of me taking turns tucking the two little girls to bed and my husband would always tuck in our oldest. After 3 years, my stepson still only wanted his Dad at night.
Through our beginning trial and errors on figuring out our Blended Family routine, we discovered that it is better not to force it. There are moments where we function beautifully together as a cohesive family, and there are other times where it feels we are two completely separate families living under one roof. Bedtimes are one of those things where it still feel like separate families.
On this particular night our oldest turned to me and asked “Tonight I want YOU to tuck me in.”
I felt like I could be knocked over with a feather! My jaw nearly hit the ground and I was completely speechless for a minute. “Really?!”
He was all smiles and excitement. “Ya! I want 3 songs!”
We laughed about that for a while. And I was all too excited to tuck him in for the first time.
It was his song request that caught me completely off guard. “Patti-cake, 5 little ducks, 5 little fish, Tiny Turtle..” They were all nursery rhymes and songs. I surrendered when he was adamant on Twinkle, Twinkle little star. I choked back tears as I listened to him struggle to sing the song with me. He didn’t know the words.
How could it be that this sweet boy approaching the age of 10 didn’t know any basic lullabies or rhymes? Did he truly not know them because he never had those experiences as a toddler? Was he just watching me with his two little sisters and was longing for some attention too?
After his songs I kissed his forehead and tousled his thick hair. “Good night buddy. Sweet dreams.”
“Sweet dreams.” He was grinning from ear to ear as he rolled over, closed his eyes and snuggled his stuffed animal puppy.
I tip-toed out of his room, completely elated! Not only was he opening up to me and allowing me to show him how much I love him; but more importantly, he went to bed happy! He wasn’t crying himself to sleep anymore longing for his mother, he wasn’t waking up with nightmares or asking 1 million questions at bedtime just to postpone the inevitable for as long as possible. He finally went to bed with a smile on his face.
I pondered for a moment, THIS is the way it should b
e. This sweet boy sh
ould go to bed smiling every night no matter which home or which parent is the one tucking him in at night. He should feel completely loved and comfortable no matter which house he’s at.
So far, my Stepson has continued to
ask me to tuck him in at night. With the summer drawing to a close, I don’t know how much longer this streak of happiness will continue. I do know that I will cherish these opportunities and memories.
The love of a child is truly the greatest gift I could’ve ever asked for.