I am very tired.
Last night my older son ended up having asthma problems and so I was up numerous times giving him breathing treatments. In between the neb treatments, I decided to sleep in his (single) bed with him to keep an ear out for his breathing and coughing.
It is true to say I was awake more than I was asleep.
But, when I finally dragged it out of bed at 6:30 (ish) I felt better than I have in a long time. I was dying for coffee but I also had a weird "all is right" feeling about things. That was surprising to me.
I am by nature (and nurture) a very selfish person. I am 10 years younger than my sister and so was basically an only child growing up. I have always been bossy and independent and REALLY like to be in control. So... to give up a night's sleep would normally be a real, um, challenge. When the boys were young I would be bitter, frustrated and throw my very own pity-party over "sleepless nights".
Last night was different because I chose for it to be. My son didn't ask for me to stay with him. In fact, he is very independent and didn't let on whether he needed or wanted me there at all. But as I stroked my 6 year-old's hair and listened to him cough I was so glad that I chose to be there.
Just being there was choosing to actively LOVE my son.
I chose to have an attitude of care, concern and peace. I chose to be a presence for him so that he would not be scared or lonely, whether he would have been or not. I chose to feel and express all of that love instead of get a good night's sleep.
I chose the better over the good.
In return, I got precious quiet moments with my child. I got to assure him that in asthma, and in life, he will not be alone. I got to care for him before he even knew he needed care. I got to feel his breath on my face when he slept. I felt the warmth of his legs next to mine when he stirred. I felt his love simply because I was there to feel it.
I got the best thing a mother can get: to love the one she was blessed with.