For the purposes of this blog, I'll call my dear husband the Captain. He's the leader of his hockey team, and, God bless him, the one steering this crowded family dinghy toward our future. Plus, it has a nice romance novel ring to it.
For all the years we've had children, the Captain has been blissfully unaware of the nocturnal activity in our home. Children would slumber and wake, wander from their room to ours, climb in our bed, over and between us, and barely interrupt the rhythm of his snoring. Sometimes, after one was already burrowed, another would arrive and wiggle in, leaving just enough room for my hips and shoulders to cling to the mattress as my butt dangled off the side. More than once, a third boy has come calling, only to be turned away like Joseph at the inn. Then I leave my bed to share their manger. This always makes for an interesting morning as the Captain wanders from room to room, searching for his missing wife.
As the boys have grown older, this happens less often. But the other night, Three wandered in around 3 a.m. and told me he was afraid of dying. I'd been hopped up on Sudafed for days trying to fight a cold and I'd had a lousy night's sleep, waking almost every hour. So, in a real Mother-of-the-Year moment, I lifted the covers and told him I would surely kill him if he didn't go back to sleep and get up for school in three hours. Your Honor, between snow days and sick days, I hadn't had one day alone all week! He did fall back to sleep, tucked under my arm. As much of him as can fit anyway, because he is larger than me now. In the morning, I'm sure the Captain could only tell the lumps apart by the blond hair sticking out from the covers.
I still snuggle with the little boys at bedtime. Their twin beds are pushed together because they wanted one big bed to play on, but there is a gap between the two mattresses. This is my spot. If I start the night curled up against Four, Five keeps track of the time, and will alert me when it's time to move by calling, ever so gently, "Hey, still waiting over here!" So, I try to rest my head on Four's pillow and my legs under Five's sheets, thus dividing myself as equally as possible between them.
Four is a veritable furnace, so I gravitate toward him on these cold nights. Five inevitably follows, slowly scooching across the bed until he is flat up against me, a spindly arm tucked up and in my shirtsleeve, as close as he can get to actually being back in the womb. I usually tell them I can only stay five minutes, but once I'm wedged between them, I don't mind lingering. Because I know from experience, in both the good and the bad, they won't always be this way. I'm going to enjoy it while I can, because the night will surely come when I threaten to kill them.