Every night has the same routine.
That doesn’t mean that every night is the same. They all have their own special set of circumstances. A different set of challenges. Conversations. A new story to read or a new chapter to begin. The pjs change. Sometimes the cats curl up at the foot of her bed. Sometimes one curls up on my lap.
Sometimes she fights it. Sometimes she bounds into her room climbs into bed and beams at me waiting.
But then I lay down beside her, my sweet girl that despite having just turned 8, is still little. I climb into the covers and push her over. I fluff her pillow and she lays down to hear a story, just like so many nights before. I pick up the book from her bedside table and I read.
No. I don’t just read. I tell the story. I make the voices. I watch her face as the tale unfolds.
And then, just like the night before and the one before that, the story ends much too soon for her liking. Her lip turns down and she makes some plea or excuse and I close the book, setting it aside to put away or read another day.
She sits up and I fluff her pillow. Again. And just as she lays back down I scoop her up in my arms for a hug. I give her a kiss. Tonight, she gets an extra kiss just because. And then it’s our own little series of kisses. Sweet and silly that we’ve added to over the last 2 years, before she finally rolls on her side and breathes deeply.
Sometimes she fights and fusses. Wiggles. Knocks on her wall. Plays with one of the many stuffed animals she’s squirreled away in her sheets or peers at me over too long lashes. Sometimes though she’s ready and lets sleep fall over her in a moment.
In the end though, I always see her sleep. Eyes closed. Breath even. A smile just tugging at the corner of her mouth.
My little girl, will always be little in her sleep