“Good night sleeping baby. You stay here and go to sleep. Mommy will be back when the cakes are done.”
I am sure I said those words – or very similar words anyway.
I am sure I said something to the effect of, “Stay here,” or “Go to sleep here,” or something like that. I would have said that right? Isn’t that part of every mom’s good night routine.
Well, I know I don’t tell my other children to “stay here,” but then again, they are not three and prone to wandering out saying, “just checking on you Mommy,” 10 times after I put them into bed, and most of them would prefer that I not cuddle them until they fall asleep (Oh how I do miss those days though!)
It was 96 degrees out today; we have no air conditioning, and Noah is having a sleepover party tomorrow night. To keep the heat down, I made his birthday cakes late tonight rather than using the oven during the heat of the day. Kaleb helped me put the mix together, and, after I popped the pans in the oven, I brushed his teeth and marched him into bed – my bed – again <sigh>.
I’m sure when I said good night I also told him to stay there and go to sleep. I’m sure of it!
I went back to the kitchen and washed the dishes (Have I mentioned that our new dishwasher is also broken? We are waiting for a new fuse, and I’ve been hand-washing hundreds of dishes for the past two weeks. Never buy a Whirlpool!).
I cleaned the counters and removed the cakes and admit to never checking on my sleeping baby.
It was well after 11 by the time I was done, and I was more than ready for bed. I walked down the hall to say good night to my boys. I stopped at George and Noah’s room kissing my fingertips and then sprinkling my kisses over their heads, something I’ve done every night for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t long ago that each of them was my littlest sleeping baby!
I stopped in Troy and Matt’s room to attempt the same thing; their messy room makes me lower my shoulder and shove the door open a foot or so. Then blow kisses from the doorway, “Good night,” I called softly.
Last, I went into my room. I looked at the bed expecting to see my littlest sleeping baby and thankful that Kaleb hadn’t come back out.
He wasn’t there.
I looked on either side of the bed in case he had fallen out.
I went back into George and Noah’s room. Had he crawled into their bed and I’d just missed hum? I patted down the blankets pillows and about 50 stuffed animals some over two feet tall!
Once he had slept with Troy. I pushed my way in there.
Not with Troy.
I climbed onto the top bunk with Matt.
Not there either.
I went back out to the living room. Was he asleep on the couch? Had he crept out to the kitchen while I said good night to his brothers? Was he downstairs? Using the bathroom? Troy stumbled out while I searched feeling more frantic each moment? Where could he have gone?
Troy also began searching. I know he thought I was crazy at first, but then he too began getting nervous.
Troy remembered that George had a favorite closet he’d fall asleep in in our old house (We never understood why he’d choose a closet, but we didn’t question it now!) Maybe Kaleb had done the same? We checked closets.
I ran outside in the dark.
Part of me wanted to laugh. Part of me wanted to cry. Where had this kid gone??? I was fairly certain he couldn’t have left the house and that no one could have gotten in, but the thought did occur to me, and as I was sinking deeper into this mystery, my mind started going places…”What if he fell and got hurt?” “What if he was scared?” “What if…”
Well that didn’t make sense!
Kaleb must still be here somewhere!
Finally, I went back into my room and saw this.
I wanted to laugh out loud. In my heart I KNEW he was here, but dear Lord, “THANK YOU!”
I called to Troy, and we laughed together, a song of relieved joy only the truly exhausted and thankful can sing as I pulled Kaleb from under my bed.
He never moved but continued breathing softly.
Troy shook his head and mumbled that he was going back to bed. I just sat on my bedroom floor cradling this precious baby closely in my arms and kissing his sweet little head.
“Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus, Thank you Jesus. I love you Kaleb. I love you Kaleb. I love you Kaleb.”
I don’t know how long we sat there, but it will never be long enough.
The fear, the exhaustion, the worry. The little boy in my arms. The big boy who stumbled back into his room his fear gone for the moment. The three other boys who had slept through the entire thing.
Good night my sleeping babies.
It was funny.
It was not.
Dear Lord, some days are just too much.
There has to be a better way.
Please help me help them,
And as always, thank you for the gift of my children.