Such A Tender Time

About thirty minutes after Alex went to bed last night, his daddy and I heard what sounded like a little crying going on in his room. And sure enough, when we checked on him, he was wide awake. He said that he couldn’t sleep, and for whatever reason, he seemed pretty upset about that whole not-sleeping thing.

I was overcome with empathy for my little man, so I crawled in the bed, snuggled up beside him, and sighed deeply as he rested his head in the crook of my shoulder.

We laid there quietly for about few minutes, and I thought about the countless times I’ve comforted him in the middle of the night. I thought about when he was three and getting used to his room in our current house. I thought about when he was two and in a “big boy bed” for the first time. I thought about when he was a newborn and I’d rock him back to sleep after a middle-of-the-night feeding.

And I remembered that when he was a baby, I could always rub my hand very gently across his forehead – back and forth, back and forth, back and forth – and after a few minutes, it was impossible for him to keep his eyes open.

I looked over at him and saw that he was still awake. So I whispered:

“Hey, buddy. You know what?”

“What, Mama?”

“When you were a baby, I would rub your forehead to make you fall asleep. Do you want me to try that now?”

“Sure, Mama,” he said. “I would love that.”

So I rubbed his little forehead – back and forth, back and forth, back and forth – and I marveled at how my “baby” is growing up. His legs stretch out almost to the end of a double bed now. His face is angular and thin. His hands look like a boy’s, not a baby’s.

I was so caught up in my reverie – and right on the verge of getting teary-eyed, I might add – that I jumped just a little bit when Alex’s voice interrupted the silence.

“Mama?” he whispered.

“Yes, baby?” I answered as I pulled him closer.

“Um, you know what?”

I waited for him to finish his thought, halfway anticipating that he was about to tell me how much he loves me, how grateful he is that I’m his mama.

“I don’t think I can really sleep anymore when you rub my head.”


Well then.

Duly noted.

Reverie over, I reckon.

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  1. You’re such a good Mama! I love your boy…and am praying for him and his parents this moment.

  2. Oh man. We’ve been having some of those “tender” moments here, too. (At least they usually make me laugh. Usually.)

  3. :o)

  4. I tickle Seth’s face and cheeks with my hair. I imagine someday, he’ll hate it, too. But for now, I rest in the fact that I alone am his soothing lovey.

  5. Awwwww, I remember when rubbing my sons ears would put him to sleep.

  6. Regardless the outcome it was still very sweet of that boy to let his mama try and get him to sleep that way.

  7. oh my gosh, that was so funny. I was with you on that one–I was totally anticipating some sweet little sentence, but totally cracked up when I read what he actually said!!!

  8. Talk about wrecking the moment!! But he was so cute. From your great narration, you could tell he didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I recall a similiar experience with my oldest when she told me (in a letter) that she didn’t believe in Santa anymore. Bless their hearts!!

  9. You are an artist….painting a beautiful picture of the love and tenderness in a mom’s heart….oh how I miss those days…
    Thank you….God Bless, Pam, South Bend

  10. mmm, yummy. Even if he did give you the boot.

  11. Those kids sure have a way of booting us back to reality, don’t they?
    And as for our babies growing up fast, my baby is 13 and sprouting facial hair! Ack! How did this happen? I keep looking at him and thinking of when he was 13 months…sigh.

  12. Oh my goodness….

    So STINKIN’ CUTE!! : )

  13. The other day Reia had her hair pulled back in one big pony. Bangs all grown out so I could really see her face. And there it was, my baby. I could totally see the baby I once had. So I mentioned it to her. “Aww honey, you look just like you did when you were a baby!”

    Her reply?

    “I don’t like my hair like this anymore.” and yanked the pony out.


  14. Amazing how such a tender moment can also break your heart a little. I’d forgotten how they pass through the stages of their lives so quickly, until I had grandchildren. So if it’s any comfort to you, someday you’ll have a grandchild who falls asleep simply because you rub your fingers across his or her forehead.

    The bad news is…they grow up. The good news is…you get to do it all over again, after they grow up.

    Bless your heart, Sophie.

  15. Well, it sounds like it was lovely while it lasted. :-)

  16. That was the sweetest story. Made me tear up, and then giggle!

    I am the Mama of an only child… a seven-year-old little man. I’ve never commented before, but love your blog and can relate to so many of the things you write about.

  17. When Victoria was still small enough to be in an excersaucer, the Disney Tarzan movie came out. I am a big Phil Collins fan, so when I happened across a PBS special where he was singing the new sound track, I had to listen. He introduced a song about the love between the mother gorilla and the infant Tarzan, then began to sing “You’ll be in My Heart.” I was so overcome with love for my baby–my daughter–my first. The tears began to well in my eyes and run down my cheeks. I looked at my beautiful girl in her exersaucer as she turned my direction JUST IN TIME to sneeze the BIGGEST sneeze EVER which turned out to be precisely the color and consistency of strained peas.

    I know what you mean about reverie.

  18. brady asked me to drop him off down the street from a friend’s house so he could walk there by himself. later in the year he mentioned he’d like to get his own apartment, as in that day.

    he was in kindergarten at the time.

  19. here’s the deal. i adore your “tender moments.” they make me smile. you know why?

    because they are going along so beautifully, and then something throws me off.

    and i love it. made my little moment.

  20. How sweet and cute! Sounds like something my 5 year olds would say too!


  21. This wonderful post made me think of that classic book…”I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
    Goes so quickly. Hold him close.

  22. Soon he’ll be punctuating those statements with a [insert bodily noise].

  23. That is sweet and funny at the same time. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  24. “Duly noted.”

    [smile] It always cracks me up when things take a total left turn out of nowhere like that. Great comedy, tender moment, and the sweet sorrow of children growing up. Fantastic.


  25. Dude! That’s harsh. But time stops for no mama.

  26. Had a similar moment with my eldest when he was first in his big bed. I was going to lay in there with him to ease him into it…blah blah. He looks at me about 2 minutes into it and says, “You’re making me hot, will you go get in your bed?” Alrighty then.

  27. Yeah, it’s a little jarring to the spirit when you’re having a little moment and the other person. Isn’t.

  28. hahahahahaa!!!!

    That was great.

  29. Sniff, sniff! Oh Boo Mama…this makes me think of my Sophie just turning two. And how fast they grow up like her oldest sister who is now 18 and in basic training for the National Guard. HEAVY SIGHS….

    It also makes me want to keep at the “Sophie sleeping in her big girl bed thing”. We took her rail down from her grow with me baby bed. The one question the doc had for me at her two year check-up:

    “WHY did you take her rail down? You should’ve left it up ’til she’s three.”

    I’m thinking if she wants to get up in the middle of the night and show up at my bedside with blanky in hand pull up my eye mask and FREAK ME OUT…well, fine then. One day she will be older like Alex and not want me to rub her forehead….


  30. Sophie, even when he’s 19, you’ll still have gentle nudges like that which originated way back when he was so connected to you. Except he will have stubble when you touch his face! But he’ll still be your baby. To the rest of the world and most of the time to you, he will be a young man, but you will always see that little person, too.

  31. Oh dear, I was thinking how precious that you laid there and were rubbing his forehead and then he blurts that out.
    I had to laugh out loud at that.