In most houses, parents can’t wait for their children to grow out of the love of co-sleeping. They long to stop clinging perilously to that couple of inches at the edge of the bed, while a little person holds the rest of it hostage. But in our house, I think it might be me that’s addicted to the midnight cuddles.
My daughter has Cystic Fibrosis, which kind of gives me an excuse, as I can monitor her breathing when she’s close to me. She sometimes wakes coughing and I’m there to comfort her and tap her back to help move whatever mucus is caught. And I know if something is coming on her before she even does – the slightest change in her breathing pattern and I’m on it. So I can make some pretty convincing points as to why it’s ok that I haven’t nipped it in the bud. But aside from reasoned arguments, truth be told, I actually just love it.
You see my daughter is 4 going on 40, with a mop of delicious curls and a cheeky smile that would send the hardest heart into melt mode. She sometimes giggles in her sleep. She usually sleeps with one eye half open (total FOMO). She sometimes wallops me in the face mid-dream. But every single time she wakes up, be it 4am or 7am, she flings her little arms around me and says ‘Mammy, I love you’. And I am complete and utter mush.
I’d probably be tougher on the issue if she was overly needy or dependent during her waking hours, as she obviously needs to flourish as her own little person. But she’s not needy in the slightest. She is beyond able to stand on her own two feet. She jumps into the middle of company. She is happy to entertain herself if her brother is not around to play with. She has a grasp of her own medication and what’s needed when. She is 100% happy and confident in her own skin. So much so that I could learn a thing or two from her!
I know that any day now she’ll turn around and say she doesn’t need me at night anymore and I’ll wince at how grown up she’s getting. So until then, I’m taking every single cuddle I can get. She looks at me like I am her world and she is most definitely mine. Why would I want to break up something so special?
My husband sometimes teases me that myself and the kids are so ‘Disney’. And while I wish I could make the rest of her life like a Disney movie, I can’t. My daughter is going to have tough challenges on the road ahead. What I can do though, is reassure her that she has 24-hour protection in the arms of her Mother. And when the cosying up together ends, I’m sure the memories of these precious moments will comfort me for the rest of my life. She’s my last baby and her cuddles are my drug. I’m high on love, comforted by curls and at peace with my parenting choice. I don’t know what age she’ll grow out of co-sleeping at. But I suspect it will be long before me.