|My Teddy Bears|
It’s happened again. Somehow the boys have started sleeping in our room like the old days. When they were much littler, they slept in bed with us when they were scared and they brought in their teddy bears with them. Now, they’re on the floor next to the bed. One on each side. It started as a sleepover one night after a scary movie and expanded from there.
It initially involved nothing more than a blanket and a pillow. Sacked out, just one night, sleep tight.
But a lightning storm arrived the very next evening, and they begged for the safety of our room again. On the second night, I couldn’t bear to see them sleep on the hard floor. So I built them a little bed out of couch cushions. I threw a sheet on and fluffed their pillows and tucked their comforters in around them, admiring my makeshift handiwork. The dog tried to lie on it and I shooed her off. It might look like a dog bed, I told her, but it’s for my petrified children.
The next day, it happened that we got home very, very late. They begged to stay another night. How could I argue? I was half asleep already, waving to them from over the edge of the bed. Much easier to close my eyes than to walk the length of the house later tonight after falling asleep next to them in their beds.
The next day, I found myself in an aisle at Target considering the pros and cons of traditional inflatable mattresses and the new-fangled three-foot high ones. Wouldn’t the boys just love these? Five-percent-off later, I had purchased them. Five hours later, I was blowing them up in my bedroom as a surprise.
“What are you doing?” This from my husband, booming through the bedroom door.
“They’re for camping. But we can try them out in here tonight.” I pushed a new 10-person tent across the floor to him. “Look, it was on clearance.”
He did not look.
“Ten? There’s four of us.”
“I know, roomy!” I could not be deterred.
“We have a camper.”
“But we always say we are going to take them tenting!” I was indignant over the whirl of the automatic mattress-blower-upper I’d also purchased.
“You’ll never sleep on a tent floor,” he said.
“Not with these I won’t!” I triumphantly bounced my hand off the towering tippy gray mattresses that stunk the room up with fresh plastic.
It was clear the investment in the mattresses would result in a few more nights camping out in our room. The tent stayed in quiet accusation where it was, in its package, on the floor.
A week in, Tim laid down the law. He unplugged the mattresses, which the kids loved (did I not call it?), and deflated our cozy one-room-house dreams.
“Out!” he said. “Why do we have a bedroom for you kids if no one uses it?”
“The bird uses it,” Nelson replied.
“The hermit crab does too,” Kendall added.
The eviction lasted two weeks, max. Soon enough, a new terror came on the scene. This time it was a “Dog Man” reference made on a late, late nighttime walk in the woods behind the house.
“Can I be your teddy bear tonight, Mom?” Nelson asked.
“You most certainly can,” I said. I did not look Tim in the eye and I did not bother to inflate the mattress this time either. There is no way I am giving up sleeping with a teddy bear, no matter how old I am.