Well not exactly midnight. But 11:30pm. Exactly three hours after Aiden's bedtime on the evenings when I don't have class. When I do have class, it's a little later, but we've learned to make due.
Sometimes Aiden goes through these phases where he wakes up a few hours after his bedtime, comes in to the living room, usually where I'm doing school work, and asks for something to drink.
Because I'm the Queen Bee of consistency and I want him to get used to staying in his bed all night (even during these phases), I usually walk him back to the bedroom, re-tuck him in, give him a kiss, and head back to the living room.
But now that I'm a few weeks into my last semester of grad school, the work is really beginning to pile on. And between single motherhood, school, and everything else, my days are getting longer and longer, and my nights shorter. And shorter. Sigh.
And sometimes I feel like Aiden gets the short-end of the stick.
Although this is totally developmentally-appropriate, these days his favorite catchphrase is, "Mommy, look at me!" And I can't help but feel as though he says this so often because, well, I'm not looking at him as often as I could. Observing his new skill. Applauding his efforts. Cheering him on. Celebrating his success. Soaking up his awesomeness.
My mind is pre-occupied with the next thing on my to-do list. Sigh.
But something shifted one night when he awoke mere moments before midnight. And I "got it." He just wants to spend time with me. Quality time. Time that we can never get back.
So on that night, I didn't rush him back to his bed. But I hugged him tight. Right there on our living room couch. I gave him a cup of milk. His absolute favorite drink. I kissed him. And received several sweet kisses in return. He picked a book from his library, and I read it to him.
Then... he fell asleep in my arms. And it was even better than I remembered it being when he would fall asleep in my arms as an infant.
I guess I needed that -- that moment with him at midnight. He needed it. We needed it.
It reminded me of this one thing: no matter how many other things I have going on in my life, no matter how busy I get, Aiden is the best freakin' part of my day.
Because at the end of the day, it's our kids who need us the most. No one said it would be easy, but it's certainly worth it. Don't you think?