We did find a way. The journey was often difficult but we did make it. In those early days, Ted worked the closing shift almost every night at Braum's. Being the Mom, I would snuggle into bed in the evenings with Anna, reading her books, telling her stories, playing games of pretend and then falling asleep in her Winnie the Pooh world. When Ted would arrive home, I would get up and go to our room. Thus began the world of co-sleeping. (I didn't know that term in 1995 but came to be familiar with it after the birth of Melissa.) As Anna grew, she would often toddle into our bed during the night or early in the mornings-she didn't like being in her room alone. (There were too many wolves there so her young mind thought.)
Sweet Melissa came along seven years later. I was older, more experienced after all I'd been a Mom for so long surely I was on the right track. We were excited to welcome another pink bundle to our world. I quickly set up a bassinet sleeper right next to our bed. When the time came to put her into a real crib I couldn't bear to be separated so we put her crib in our room, next to the bed. That was okay for a while but I still felt separated, the night time feedings were unsettling for all three of us. Something had to change. So I got the brilliant idea of taking one side off of her baby bed and attached it to our bed. Perfect! She had her own space, couldn't roll out into the floor but could comfortably be nursed back to sleep. Weekend mornings were a favorite time because Anna would wake and join Ted, Melissa and me where we would just hang out in our bed and be a family. Long after she was weaned, she still continued to sleep in that little crib until she was three when along came Jessica.
Jessica only stayed in our room about six months, Melissa alone in her room was anxious for her little sister to join her so we obliged. However our weekend morning family time continued...
Now these weekend morning cuddles didn't happen every weekend but when they did, they were magic. Kids laughing, talking about all the important things in their lives, watching a funny movie or the Food Network so we'd have new recipes to try that day...or sometimes, just being close and listening to one another breathe (or fart)!! As the kids have gotten older and our lives have become busier, the opportunities for family cuddle time have been few and far between. Some weekends, I wish I had a magic wand I could wave to make those leisurely mornings happen more often. But alas, I can't. Even when Anna is home, the cuddle isn't something that can be forced-it just is.
I am crazy blessed to be the Mother of his children...to spend my days educating them, cleaning up after them, washing their laundry and establishing a life that we consider normal. I hope and pray that one day when the girls are grown and have families of their own they each will find a normal-whether it's family movie night, Friday night dinners or even the strange weekend cuddles I want them to experience what I have, the ultimate happiness that can only be felt when you stop and realize how crazy blessed you are! Go find your NORMAL!!