Will's fever finally broke this morning, but last night, it was still high. His face was flushed, his eyes a little too bright, and his cough was hacking and intense.
He didn't want to go to bed. He wanted to sleep in Mama Bed, which of course, is a habit we don't want to get into at home. He was exhausted, it was way past his bedtime, and he was sobbing his desire to sleep in our bed. One thing I have learned about parenting a toddler is that if you give in just once, you will pay for it for days. While I wasn't about to let a sick little boy Cry It Out, I also wasn't about to give in on where he was sleeping.
M and I are both sick from the same gunk that has Will under the weather. My throat was sore, my nose plugged, and my cough dry. M's own cough is startling and hardly conducive to settling Will to sleep. This was one night that I really could have used an easy bedtime.
That was not to be. It took several trips in and out of his room, many songs, some extra stories, and finally, just rocking him and stroking his baby face, to get him to sleep. I kissed every inch of his face, wiping away the tears and angst. I rubbed my nose against his and sang his favorite songs to him. His eyes fluttered, his mouth sucked air, and he clung to his stuffed Elmo. His breathing evened. I had tears in my own eyes from watching him be so upset, from wondering if I wasn't just being a really mean mom by not letting the poor sick kiddo sleep in our bed.
I stroked his cheek one last time, nuzzled him close, and whispered, "Love you."
The little voice surprised me (I thought he was asleep!), "I love you, Mommy."
Sometimes, when I least expect it, being a Mom hits me full force. There are moments when I am tired, stressed, sick, whatever, and I almost miss the magic. I am glad that last night wasn't one of those times that I missed out on.