I quietly slip into her bed, being careful not to wake her. I cover her cool little legs, then cover myself up with one of our many crocheted blankets. Laying on my left side, my knees bend into my body as my feet poke through the old crib slats of her converted toddler bed. Yes, we can both fit in there...kind of. Luckily, I'm short, and she's tiny enough to not take up much room.
My sweet 2-year-old stirs a bit, unconsciously sucking her thumb. I settle in and snuggle up to her, spooning my little girl - my Little Bit.
My husband and I decided once and for all this week to call it quits. I'll write out my whole story soon, but suffice it to say - it sucks. Yes, it's selfish, but I want my girls all to myself. I grew them, birthed them, nurtured them and did basically everything for them until very recently. They feel like mine. I can count on one hand the number of times I willingly left them before they went to bed at night. So this whole custody thing?? Are you kidding me?
Tomorrow morning I have to drop them off. How? How did this glorious Saturday go by so quickly? I'm trying not to desperately worry about every moment spent with them, because all that does is lead to the inevitable countdown to when I have to leave them. Shit, this hurts my heart. And it hurts theirs, especially my 4-year-old.
So I lay here, gently snuggling my littlest love, grasping at any spare moments I can with her. Although she's not awake, I somehow hope that she'll sense that I'm near and get some extra comfort from Mommy that I know she needs.
I fall asleep, which is what I assumed I'd do. I eventually wake up and turn my attention to my other daughter - we'll call her Sunshine. She's 4, and she's the one who really tugs at my heartstrings, because she's more aware and more dependent in many ways than her little sister. Dear God, do not let her be too damaged by this divorce. She's so sensitive. Please, let me learn how to protect her while I, at the same time, leave her without me for hours on end each week.
My girls share a room, and I move over to her bed. As I told her I would before she went to sleep, I scoop her and her beloved blanky up and carry her to my bed. I never used to bother my girls while they slept, nor would I bring them to bed unless they were infants or sick, for fear that it would wake them up or cause bad habits.
Now - screw it. I need to feel my babies next to me. And again, I hope my Sunshine senses me near her as she sleeps. She certainly loves waking up in bed with me in the morning. I do this once, maybe twice, a week. And truthfully: I LOVE IT.
So here I am. Laying next to my first born, stroking her sweet, sweaty hair and whispering to her - as I did to Little Bit - how much I love her.
I fall asleep, knowing that in about eight hours I'll have to give them up for an entire day and night to their father who dearly loves them (but who simply isn't their mom), doing my best to make them believe that all of this is OK.