Lately, Piper has been sleeping with us, again. We had a brief rather wonderful period when she slept with Umberto. Sometimes she would be the only child in the bedroom when morning woke us all. But a few months back, we had a "family sleep-over" where we all slept upstairs, watched a movie, had popcorn, and ice cream. End result being that Piper moved back into bed with us. We tolerate it because I believe that children need that kind of security.
And maybe because I'm feeling a little guilty. H and I got involved in something complex (that ended up being icky). I felt that for those couple of months I neglected my family. Not badly, not the kind of neglect that results in hungry, dirty children. I took care of everyone as I always had but there was a certain intensity missing. We have cultivated a deeply intense life with our children and with our family. Not a sick kind of intensity but a vibrant energy that fuels our togetherness. We spend time talking and listening to each other--not just H and I but with the children as well. We spend most of our time together doing things, being out. While H and I enjoy those nights away we spend most of our time doing things that we can all do together. It's created a bond, a bond not just of blood and care-taking but a bond based on genuine affection for each other.
When we got involved so to speak, that intensity ended up, at least for me, being turned elsewhere. It was quite disastrous on many levels. It involved an enormous shift and upheaval. There were times when all I wanted was for them to go to bed, to leave me a lone so I could focus on this other thing. One night in particular was quite awful. I not only wished for them to go to bed, I put intense pressure on them. Anyone who knows kids knows what happened. The more I pushed, the more they resisted. It became a huge battle, something I always swore I'd never let bedtime become, and in the end, I was angry. Not at them but deep down at myself.
So now that Piper is sleeping with us, I feel I almost owe it to her. I turned away from my family for a brief time. And we were all hurt from that turning away. We're slowly rebuilding that relationship but I can see the lack of trust in every one's eyes. And it was all me. I ran from the commitment, the closeness, towards a life that I used to have, that I thought would be good. But now I long for the insulation of my family, for the little hugs from the kids, the kisses, the love they feel for me despite my stumble. And H has been kind, forgiving even though he didn't need to be. It was as if they all stood back while I tried out a role, waiting to see if I would embrace that or come back to them.