I’m really enjoying the last part of bedtime with Archie Bear at the moment. Now that he’s in a big bed there’s room to lie down next to him while we pray in the dark after story-time. He’s never really been a cuddly, spontaneous ‘I love you’ kinda boy, but the last month or so, in these nighttime moments, he’s started gently stroking my face or my arm, like he’s trying to help me get to sleep. I have lovingly stroked his face, head, back, etc etc for the last 3 years, and now he’s reciprocating. It’s very sweet. Tonight he seemed to be exploring my face with his fingers, tracing the outline, and telling me in a whisper that my ear was cold. He held it to warm it up, so gently, then checked my other ear too.
After we said Amen, we ended up lying nose to nose, quite literally, with our arms around each other, him sucking his thumb and arm about my neck, and mine around his middle. It was so beautiful just to lie there, still and quiet, and I really feel like we shared something special.
I don’t normally do bedtime, so I miss out on all this loveliness, as well as all the hard bits of bedtime too, and Daddy Bear gets the cuddles and Eskimo kisses, and gets to hear the whispered words ‘stay here daddy’ every night, with a tightening of arms around his shoulders.
I love this part of Archie Bear that we see so rarely. It’s so hard to imagine it sometimes during the day when he’s tearing around, fidgeting non stop, and being a boisterous and independent threenager. But it’s there somewhere, waiting for the quiet and calm of the night to unravel and come out, like it’s been hiding away somewhere deep inside, forgotten even by Archie Bear himself.
There is so much of my day with him that I find a struggle, that I would rather forget, mainly for my own behaviour rather than his. But these kind bedtime moments will stay with me forever. Proof that he cares for me, that he needs me to be close and to stay with him, that he actually does, after all, want me there.