A Late Night Visitor
I’m not sure why I habitually make such a dramatic plunge to the sofa — big sigh, back of wrist to head every night after my motherly duties have culminated at a solid two hours of butt-to-couch vegging. It just feels really good to know that for the next two hours the only thing I need to worry about is if there is a show to my liking, if Facebook will be entertaining enough and if my wine glass and/or ice cream bowl is sufficiently filled. I try to alternate the latter. This is MY time. My time to not think, to not do, and to just . . . be. It’s very zen, you guys, very zen. And no matter how tired I am, I need this time, at least an hour, to decompress before being “on” from the time I wake up to the time their heads hit the pillow (and proceed to ask for water, and another song, and to tweak the lighting and to pee). After all that has happened, it’s my cue for the dramatic plunge to the couch.
But. There is always a but.
At least once per week we hear the creak of the top bunk. Then a jump (never graceful nor inconspicuous). Then a tip, tip, tipity toe down the stairs. A round face pressed between the railings, exposing a mixture of baby teeth and grown up teeth — a constant reminder that he is still small, but on his way to big kid territory. My oldest. Sweet, sweet J, who makes me work hard for this me time on the couch. The kid that whined through his homework, scoffed at my dinner and wouldn’t tell me a single detail about his day besides the obligatory “It was good”.
But, you see, Late Night J is a whole new J.
“Oh. Hi, Mommy”, he says, as his smile turns into sheepish grin. “I forgot I had to tell you something about school today.”
I motion him to come sit, take one last glance at my newsfeed and push it aside. Me time on hold.
Late Night J curls his body close next to mine and pulls some blanket to cover his never-completely-cleaned knees.
“You’re pretty mama. And I actually did like your dinner. Sorry about that.”
“Mmmm hmmmm. I forgive you. It’s late buddy, but tell me what’s on your mind.”
And that’s when Late Night J blossoms. "Well at school I got caught being good, and I got a certificate, and next I might win the good citizen of the class award, and at recess I scored 4 touchdowns, and I’m really sorry but I didn’t actually eat the grapes you packed in my lunch because they were smooshed, but I promise I will eat them tomorrow — I really promise — oh, and I need to decorate a pumpkin for this contest we are doing, and there is a new kid in my class . . . I was nice to her today and, um, mom? Is the Eagles game on right now? Haha never mind, mama llama, is there anything else you would like me to tell you about my day?” Bat of the eyes, toothy grin and, “Awh, mama, I really love you” . . . head snuggled into the shoulder.
And it goes on and we talk and it’s the only time of the week we can ask and he tells all. Good old Late Night J.
Truth be told, I used to get annoyed that he was infringing on my me time, but then I realized, he is 6. A big boy compared to my 2-year-old. But really, he is ONLY 6. One, two, three, four, five, six. That’s it. Only 6. And while he can read, and write, and throw and run, and joke and reason and win over 33-year- old women (that’s me) with that goofy grin of his peering through the banisters, he is just a boy, despite all the times I treat him like an adult, who apparently still needs a little me time too.
Lindsey Schuster is a former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Raised with four sisters, her blog Sisters to Sons chronicles the new path she has carved: raising three sons.