Paul loved to sleep with his mother. Sleep is still most perfect,
in spite of hygienists, when it is shared with a beloved.
The warmth, the security and peace of soul, the utter comfort from
the touch of the other, knits the sleep, so that it takes the body
and soul completely in its healing. Paul lay against her and slept,
and got better; whilst she, always a bad sleeper, fell later on
into a profound sleep that seemed to give her faith. Ch. 4, Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
I read Sons and Lovers years ago and have been carrying this quotation around ever since. I even figured out a way to shoe-horn it into a terrible short story once. I think the sentiment is lovely and so true. When my kids were babies, I was never too quick to shoo them to a crib. I always knew their time sleeping with us was finite, making it ever the more warm and delicious.
During the weeks that Doctor Dash works nights, the kids have started a sleeping-in-my-bed rotation. Aside from the squabbles about who gets to go first in a given week, I have to admit that I like it. They all sleep so differently, my children.
Saint James always reads later into the night than I do – sleep plays hard to get, but then keeps a gauzy hold on him late into the morning, leaving lingering yawns and puffy eyes. Supergirl is such an early bird, she falls asleep pretty much as soon as her head hits the pillow. It’s like a little switch gets flicked and she’s out. In the morning, the opposite is true and she’s bright eyed at the word go. In between, she’s as still as a stone. Devil Baby fights sleep, but once it claims her, she sleeps a long time. She seems to go on epic journeys in her sleep – her legs fluttering through water, climbing rocks, running on dirt roads. She’s the hardest one to sleep with, but the one I need to do it with the most. After a fraught day, with too much yelling and stubbornness on both of our parts, sleep washes it all away and we find our peace, deep in the night with her little legs strewn over mine.
Just like when they were babies, I know this is temporary. At some point Dash will stop working nights or they’ll just get too old to want to come to my bed. But for now, I do so love waking to a skinny bum in the small of my back or a little hand clutching mine – and hearing the murmurs and sighs of their secret sleep lives.