As children, when playing freeze tag or hide and seek, there was always a free zone or home base. Once you reached and touched it, no harm could come to you. Unfortunately, as adults, we don't always have a tangible base to get to when things get tough.
Last night, my night crawler, Joshua, was up to his old tricks. Prior to the nasty cough from two weeks ago that settled into his chest, Joshua was sleeping through the night in his own bed. However, when he is feeling under the weather or has a bad dream, base is right there between Mommy and Daddy.
But he is going to be 3 1/2. When he comes into bed with us, none of us get a decent night sleep. My husband and I closely resemble zombies of the scariest kind: parents with severe sleep deprivation. It also does not help that my head, face and kidneys are his personal target practice for kicking. I am sporting some fierce bruises, people.
So last night, when he came around and my husband attempted to put him in bed with us, I lost it. I sent Daddy back with Joshua, to his room and bed. It did not go well.
For close to 45 minutes, Joshua wailed and approached the bedroom door, but did not come in. It quite literally broke my heart. Finally, he was howling. I got up, and found him. His tear stained face mumbled something about having to go potty. As he went, I stood, waiting, sleeping with my eyes open.
I tucked him in bed. I went back to bed and lay awake, trying to go back to sleep. And the thought of how we each need a base when things go bad came to mind. And how I took that away from him.
And yet, this morning, he awoke with a smile on his face, eyes bright with rest. His little arms pulled me close to him, fierce in his love for me.
As I looked at each of my sons this morning, I thought of how regardless of what messes life throws at us, this is my base. This is where I long to be, with whom I want to be with, when I need everything to be right.
My mother in law got a taste of that this past week. She had what could have been a MAJOR setback. She underwent emergency surgery and when she awoke later on that morning, she was surrounded by the men she loves the most: her husband and sons. The original four. The original base. And that did wonders for her recovery as she begins anew, working towards healing, gearing up for the fight.
And where she has been our base for a LONG time, it is nice to be that for her and my father in law. Because that's what families do. We are the touchstone, the roots, the wind that carries those who cannot.
As my sons grow older and my role changes as their mother, I imagine that they will always be what I most cherish, what brings me comfort when I am sad. I suppose that the image of them I call to mind will differ as they get older. But for now, those lanky legs and arms, wide eyes and smiles are the most welcoming base that I have ever known.