It’s 3 am. I wake to a small hand clasping my arm, tiny snores escaping from the pillow next to me.
Bella’s climbed into bed with us again.
I vaguely remember her at the door a few hours before that. Whispering our names and asking if she could “snummel.” It’s been months of this now, so we are usually half asleep as we grunt a yes and throw back the covers for her to get in. Then we all fall asleep.
Sam wakes up at 5 am to get ready for work, and as he leaves he kisses us both goodbye. This morning it’s raining so we lay in bed listening to it. She usually falls right back asleep but sees that I’m still wide awake.
“Why aren’t you sleeping Mama?”
I pause. Honesty is the best policy even for her age. “I’m thinking about Kaden, so then I don’t sleep very well.” She watches me carefully.
“Are you sad?”
I pull her into the crook of my arm. “I’m always going to be sad a little, because he’s gone. I miss him and the twins. But – I’m always going to be happy too. I have you and Daddy and Charlie and the kitties,” she giggles, “and you make my heart happy. You are my special girl.”
I can see her whole face light up in the little bit of light that creeps in the room. I kiss the top of her head. She changes the subject to the rain and I follow. We never push her to talk about her brothers in heaven more than she wants to.
Bella has co-slept with us on and off over the years. When she was a newborn she was always with us, but transitioning to crib/toddler bed/twin bed has meant longer spans on her own. After our son Kaden died in August, she started waking up at night and being afraid. While at first we tried to get her to stay in her own room with reassurances, books, songs, etc – we finally realized we were both ok with her needing us at night. We ended up buying a king size bed when we moved so we’d all rest better.
Yes, there are nights where she won’t go right to sleep. We’ve had to talk with her about sleeping sideways – head on my back, feet on Sam’s. It’s pretty uncomfortable for us both as she stretches out. She used to wake up at 5:30 am and that was just brutal.
There is a side of comfort for us both though. We’ve had so much loss and trauma that waking up to our only child on earth asleep against us is a reminder of how blessed we are to have her. We love that she still wants to snuggle with us, because one day she won’t.
So yes, my daughter is 4 years old and we all still co-sleep together. Maybe it’s not ideal for some families, but in this time of our lives it works for all three of us.
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote about her life with a daughter here and three sons in heaven, life as an army wife, and her faith. You can also find her work on Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, Still Standing Magazine, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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