Aug 15, 2007

The Family Bed

We're one of those "family bed" types of families.

Bria slept between us until Mcabe was born and Mcabe was with us until he was three...sadly kicked out before he was ready to go. He transferred down to the "Big Boys" bedroom traumatically...much like the way he handled those cruel preschool "drop offs" at the gate. I have no idea why we were pressured at the time to move him out...but I do know now that it wasn't necessary.

Last night, without warning...our baby Zion grew up all by herself. She declared that she wanted to sleep downstairs with the girls. The trundle was prepared...lights out and...lo and behold...contrary to her parents predictions....she accomplished her mission. Brad checked on her halfway through the night and she was out like a light. And early this morning...she was the first Gregg awake...watching a Sewing show on television....paper and crayons scattered about on the coffee table... doing "homework" all by herself in the den. "Look, Dad...I can make an "A"....she mentioned nonchalantly. She did the same thing when she decided diapers were a thing of the past. One day she said I want to go on the big potty and she did and never looked back. When she is ready to do something she just does it...no drama...simple and easy.

I know many people do not understand our choice to sleep with our kids in between us or near us...but I must say...it's been an enormous blessing. It's also one of the things I grieve over when I think of Galilee and Jemima during those long, lonely first years of their lives...us not having them to comfort or them not having us to provide comfort and security. Galilee was 4.5 when she came home...and fiercly independant. I slept with her in her bed for a few weeks...but to be honest...it wasn't natural. Then she slept on the floor by our bed for a while...as things started to settle in. Jemima was 3.5 when she came home. She was equally independant and had no need to cuddle in bed. It broke my heart as she pushed me away. I had lost so much time with them. We would not be able to bond in this one particular way...one of the ways that came naturally to a nursing mother...or to a father whose breath rises and falls in unison with the sleeping infant's on his chest.

As time went on...I realized that the Lord had a purpose in His timing and that I needed to find different ways of bonding.... and those ways were graciously and tenderly provided. Over the years...as the girls hearts were knitted to ours and ours to theirs...they wanted to sleep upstairs with us...on the floor in our room. Beds are now occasionally made with cozy blankets and pillows and it is like a big pajama party at the Gregg home. It has been a tool the Lord has used to strengthen our bonds and draw us closer into intimacy.

Just last week, Bria had a blood blister that he picked and it wouldn't stop bleeding. Eventually.... after about an hour and a midnight contact to the doctor on call... it did, but I made him sleep upstairs anyway. He thought I was nuts...but honored me :) "just in case Mom wanted to check in on him a few times during the wee hours."

When Bria went to camp...guess who bunked with us? Mcabe. Three nights with our 13 year old close by. Who on earth could not love that?

Call us crazy, but I am convinced our family bed communicates love to our kids.

And as far as Bradley and I are concerned...the Lord knew what He was doing when He made us creative types :)


Mom of Five said...

It's a natural, beautiful thing. I've always struggled with mom and dad's room being "off limits". What is that telling our kids? Night time can be a spiritual battle ground too. I love those late night prayers of protection. And I am glad our kids have us for the short time it really is.

Ginger said...

Emma is in our room in her crib. And I am not so sure she will be leaving anytime soon. I am not planning on it. Now I know that it is not our bed but she is right next to me and I want it to stay that way for awhile. The world would look at it and say that she slept in our room out of necessity, and our house is small, with only 3 bedrooms, and five kids. Oh wait a minute one is not here anymore (weep, weep). But for me it is not a necessity, she needs her mama. God has provided just the right amount of room for our family. yeah!

Ginger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ginger said...

sorry that posted twice

Debbie and Co. said...

And, by the way, that same daughter who didn't need your bed, that great independent soul, contacted all you know to pray for you in need. I love the family bed - you know that. The fact that you made it happen at 3.5 and 4.5 is a tribute to your family. You are a wonderful and special Mommy and Daddy!

Sheena Christine said...

This is beautiful to see... I remember when i used to ask my parents to sleep with them, the left side on the floor right next to mom. And actually if it is only my mom and i home when my sister and dad are out of town i will sleep in her bed. I'm 18 and still do that! : )

Family Gregg said...

So did I, Sheena. Bradley and I started dating when I was 19. We had a fight or something really stupid like that and I was upset and made a bed next to my parents on the floor :)