I have a confession to make:
I love sleeping with my kids. I love feeling them as they turn towards me in slumber, their shallow breath puffing gently on my face. I love curling around them as they rest and grow, tucked safely under my arm.
I also love my husband and marriage, so the kids sleep in their own beds. Most of the time. Ever since we let Mocha in the bed when she was a pup, poor Scott has always been on the business end of whatever creature was in the bed. I get all the nice, cuddly parts and he gets kicked. Or, in the case of when Mo was little and she'd sleep around my head like a halo, he'd roll over to spoon me and get a face full of dog butt.
I think that Violet and I were crazy spoiled on vacation -- the days we weren't out and about during naptime, she and I nursed and snuggled to sleep on Milo's opened sleeping bag, like a couple of pickles on a hamburger bun. It was so nice to nod off with her little hand on my neck or her cheek pressed into my shoulder.
I love the little twitchy dance the kids do as they let the last bit of their consciousness slide away. I love how malleable their faces look. I love that moment when they start sleep breathing.
I remember coming home from Epcot Center after fireworks the last time we were in Florida -- Milo had fallen asleep in the lap of my dad's wife Robin and when it came time to load the bus for the ride back to the hotel, I eagerly volunteered to take his weight. Clutching him to my chest as the gears on the bus groaned and the brakes hissed, I held him there, his sweaty little face against the pulse on my neck. The bus was crowded and everyone was volunteering to hold him to "give me a break," not understanding that that WAS the break -- that when he was sacked out on me I was recharging my batteries in the sleepy glow of adoration.
It's not that kids are hard to love when they're awake, it's just that it's impossible NOT to love them when they are asleep. There's no bad behavior or wrong choice that can withstand the forgiving visage of a sleeping child. I can feel mind-numbing frustration with them when they're awake and pushing all of my buttons at once, but the minute sleep settles them, my heart melts and I'm falling in love all over again, my breath stolen.
Perhaps it is their utter vulnerability.
Perhaps it is mine.