I hate clichés. My skin literally crawls when I hear someone say something like "you'll miss these days" or "nothing lasts forever." But let's be honest, parenting (in a nutshell) is a whole bunch of clichés .
I tend to feel a sense of irritation every time I start venting about our chaotic life or something one of my kids has done, and someone with older children stops me to remind me that one day I will look back and wish I had lived more in the moment. Cherished my kids at their innocent ages full of wonder. Because one day, "you'll look back and you'll miss these days."
And as annoying as it can be when someone says that, they're not wrong.
That's why when my kids come climbing into my bed in the middle of the night, I don't kick them out.
My middle child has an obsession with sneaking into bed with me. He loves to cuddle, and he is exceptionally affectionate at night. There came a point in time when I was making every outlandish promise possible as I laid him down to sleep to convince him to stay in his bed throughout the night. I had convinced myself that him crawling into my bed every night was causing us both to get a dreadful night's sleep. His solution was to simply stop announcing his arrival in the wee hours of the morning. Instead, he now ever-so-silently tiptoes his way to my side of the bed and snuggles up next to me. So silently, in fact, that I usually don't even realize he's managed to make his way into my bed until morning. I used to worry about this. That my kid needed his space, and I needed mine.
But the truth is, I think we both sleep a little sounder curled up with each other.
And as annoying and cliché as it sounds, it really won't last forever. One day I am going to wake up, and my kids are going to be burrito-ed into their comforters in their messy beds with their acne covered faces, dirty adult-sized clothes, and stinky shoes strewn across the floor, their leftover pizza slices from a midnight snack still on their nightstand, and celebrity or band posters up on the walls. They'll be snoozing away without a care in the world because they were up late texting with a friend — or (gasp!) more than a friend.
Before I know it, the day will come when they will no longer ask me for a bedtime story or to sing them a song at night. They will probably go to sleep hours after I've passed out. Eventually, I'll be lucky if I can get my kids to give me a kiss on the cheek or to give me a quick hug on their way out the door, better yet rub my cheek with their soft little chubby fingers until we both fall back to sleep sweetly. Our sleepy midnight chats where my child quietly coos precious love stories in my ear between yawns, where he tells me about how I'm the best mom in the world, will be distant memories.
My oldest is 8, and he never climbs in my bed in the middle of the night anymore. Every once in a while, he asks to come camp out in my room and watch a movie. And I always say yes. But those nights are fading as fast as the color in my hair, and one day, they will have vanished entirely. And before I know it all of my "little kids" will be not so little kids anymore. They will be independent near-adults with real problems and secrets and LIVES that don't include me.
So, before that happens, I'm going to take all the overnight cuddles I can get. Because as tiresome as it sounds, one day I know I will look back and miss these exact moments. But at least I won't be looking back with regret.