The Goodnight 

Mom takes a breath.

Tiny three year old toes twinkle down the stairs. One right after the other.

Stomp. 

Two feet land together at the bottom, equipped with a smile only this boy could endure.

Bacon legs – run, run, run as arms flail behind. Jumping down one step, turning a corner. Everything halts. 

The twinkle toes ever so slightly step on a piece of beige carpet. One hand propped up on the arm of a couch.

Boy says to Grandma: “Where’s, Papa?”

Grandma reaches for the boy as she sits up from the gray couch. 

Smiling she says: “Give me a hug!”

Boy lowers his shoulders. Glances up at Mom. His arms reach for her. 

Mom sighs – raises her eyebrows.

Mom says to boy: “Give her a hug, B…”

Boy responds in a whisper: “Where’s papa?”

Grandma groans: “He’s in the bedroom.”

The twinkle toes take off. They only stop when they’ve reached their destination.

Papa.

A huge smile breaks out underneath the kind blue eyes only this boy could possess. 

“Papa.” Boy says.

Papa sits up from the warmth and comfort from his bed.

Papa: “Come here my buddy.”

Those tiny three year old toes twinkle their way up, up, up – until they’ve landed safely onto the bed. 

Boy lays on top of Papa, his once perfectly blonde hair nestled under Papa’s chin. Boy inverts his arms so that his hands are safely tucked in between himself and his Papa. Boy closes his eyes momentarily and a slow toothless smile appears. 

He’s happy.

Mom: “Alright, c’mon. It’s getting late.”

Boy swiftly swings his legs over the side of the bed.

Stomp.

Boy quickly turns to Papa.

Boy: “Goodnight, Papa.”

Papa peers out from over his reading glasses that are sat ever so slightly on the edge of his nose.

Papa: “Goodnight, boy. Want to have ‘Papa’s Breakfast’ tomorrow? 

Boy smiles from ear to ear before his twinkle toes run off. 

An audible “Ahhhhhh” slowly fades away…

Mom chases after Boy.

Up, up, up the stairs they climb. 

Three year old feet heavily and quickly hit the hardwood ground. 

They stop. 

The boy crouches down in front of a thrown together hand painted grey bookshelf. 

Boy: “How many books can I read tonight?”

Mom slowly closes the sliding mirror closet door. Careful not to roll over miscellaneous toys that have snuck out of their cubby. 

Mom: “2.”

The Boy sighs.

Boy: “Alright.”

Boy brings his two chosen books into his red race car bed. 

Mom crawls up the bed methodically. 

Mom makes a spot for her and Boy on the bed.

Boy climbs into Mom’s lap.

Mom: “Which one do you want to read first?”

Boy points to his selection.

Mom reads with joyous expression on her face. Making emphasis on each character and their traits.

Boy laughs with every turn of the page.

He loves Mom.

They finally make their way back from the fantasy world the books brought them to.

Mom kisses Boy on his left cheek.

She loves his baby cheeks. 

She quickly jumps out of bed to turn the lights off. 

And hurriedly climbs back to join Boy under the covers. 

They lay down together.

Mom: “You have 3 minutes.”

Boy looks up at Mom with his sweet and kind eyes.

Boy: “For 3 minutes, I want to snuggle with you.”

Mom lifts her right arm up over his head. He nestles his little head into the nook of her. 

Boy: “Can we sing a song?”

Mom: “What song do you want to sing?”

Boy: “The one you sang to me when I was a baby.”

Mom snuggles up closer to Boy.

Mom: “Okay…. ”

She sings.

Mom: “Goodnight to you, goodnight to you, goodnight to you, I’ll see you real soon.”

Mom repeats. She kisses Boy on the tip of his nose. 

Boy seemingly drifts off to sleep. 

Mom quietly makes her way out of the red race car bed. She spreads the blankets all the way up to his chin. Just the way Boy likes it. She kisses him on his right cheek.

She tip toes over to the door. Opens it.

Boy: “Can you not do all of those things I say every day?”

Mom steps to the outside of his room. Holding the door handle with her left hand.

Mom: “You got it.”

Boy: “Goodnight, I love you.”

Mom: “Goodnight, I love you.”

Mom gently shuts the door behind her.

She made it another day.

Mom exhales.

Writers note:

In the time I started some writing this post a few things have changed. The most important being the title and the line that is written below.  

Original Title: Don’t Let the Monitor Move

Boy: “Mom, don’t let the monitor move. And I don’t want to hear any clicks or crickets. Can you turn your phone off? Can you turn my fan to number 1? Oh and shut my window. ”

Braden used to be very specific on what he said every night before shutting the door. I knew I should write it down before he stopped and before I forgot. Of course he did stop in the months of writing this piece.

It’s bittersweet. Time is such a thief.

I love you, Braden

– Your mama xo 

The Goodnight 

“I’ll love you forever…”

It’s been 4 days since you’ve been home. The nights have been quieter. I fill the void with various friends, movies, work and television shows. Time apart from you does not get easier. I think I just manage it better as the years go on. 

I’m happy for the relationships you’ve built with all of your family, but I always just want you home. I don’t like having to share you, but I know it’s what’s right. 

On the nights you return, we always get home so late. Some nights you’re fast asleep before we’ve even exited the freeway. I tuck you into your race car bed, kiss you goodnight and shut the door behind me. But, on extra cold nights, I scoop you from your bed and bring you into mine. 

I always lay you on my chest, as if you were a baby. I love you curled under my chin, our breath in synch. I shut my eyes and rub your back. I missed you so much. I wish the weight of your little body wasn’t crushing mine. Otherwise I’d let you sleep here all night. 

Before I gently roll you over to your own pillow, I always say these words to myself:

“But at night time, when that two-year-old was quiet, she opened the door to his room, crawled across the floor, looked up over the side of his bed; and if he was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. While she rocked him she sang:

I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.”

Braden, time is such a thief but I will ALWAYS love you. And there is always a spot in my bed for you. I’ll make sure to keep it warm. 

Welcome home 🙂 g

I love you,

Your mama xo

“I’ll love you forever…”

Perfect Story 

My little B,

I must have done something right for God to have placed you in my life. It goes without saying that I love you more than life itself. I’d give you anything and everything to see you happy. My heart already breaks with the thought of yours breaking. 

I’d like to say that I’ve worked damned hard in keeping your heart in tact, but sometimes life happens. Sometimes the story you want to tell, isn’t the story that gets told. Sometimes the life you want, isn’t the life you get. And sometimes your heart breaks when you least expect it.

Life is going to change for you my little man. I’d be lying if I said this isn’t going to be hard. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried or heartbroken for you. 

I hate that you’ve already had to grow up faster than most 3 year olds. I hate the hand that you’ve been dealt. But please know, that no matter how much your world changes, I will always be here to support you and guide you. I am your forever shoulder to lean on. And I promise, I will do my hardest to lead by example. I can only hope that you look back on your life and are proud of me.

This is not the perfect story I wanted for your life. But what good is a perfect story anyway? Let’s continue to color outside the lines – it’s more fun that way anyway 😘

Perfect Story 

Dear Braden

I stand here in your half-lit room trying to put the pieces back together so that it resembles somewhat of a livable space. It’s inevitable that I find little pieces of the you that you were, when you were first here. A much too deflated balloon hidden behind a dresser that we received the day you were born. A stuffed monkey I “had” to have when you were still tucked away in my belly. It always brings me back to a place of happiness and a little smile makes it way onto my lips as images of your life flash in my mind. Gosh, where has the time already gone?

Braden, you have already taught me so much in the mere (almost) three years that you have been here. I could not have dreamt up a better son for me to have. Honestly… You complete me just as much (if not more) than I complete you. You have shown me the meaning of life, pushed me to be better than I was the day before, and loved me unconditionally.

You are gentle and kind and love with all of your heart. I sometimes worry (a little too much) that wearing your heart on your sleeve is going to break that sweet heart of yours one day. But please know, that I will be here to help you put the pieces back together. Your love for people is astounding. You adapt to places quicker than I can even believe. You’re coordinated, musically inclined, smart, sensitive, in tune with people, imaginative and of course handsome.

You don’t throw tantrums, but you do push the limits and question things you don’t understand. You’re stubborn at times and determined to do things your way. But, after a conversation (or 2) you’re willing to see and understand the other side. I love that about you the most, I think. Your ability to want to listen, to want to understand – “tell me” as you would say. You’re inquisitive. And even though it tests my limits and patience, I think that quality is going to take you far.

Two meant; big boy beds, first vacations, potty training, sock modeling, Easter egg hunts, camel rides, play time with Baby Graham, beach days, lots more sweets, love and lots of laughter.

I’m looking forward to three – big boy undies and preschool to name a few! But, I’m more looking forward to watching you grow. I don’t know how two hearts created such an incredibly big heart in you, my little man. But I do know that I am honored to know you. You just get what life is about and that is pretty damn cool.

Here’s to you, Braden.

I love you,

Your mommy xo

BritneeandBraden2016-105

Photos by: Reams Photo

Dear Braden

Fluffy

I love the night before Braden comes home. I clean every nook and cranny (most of the time), and put his room back together as if it’s brand new again. Their is something so therapeutic about making sure everything is in its place. Tonight, as I was putting fresh and clean sheets on his bed, I found “Fluffy” hidden away inbetween the wall and his bed. I couldn’t help but laugh a little to myself because “Fluffy” is actually the infamous Snoopy.  

A few months ago we (Braden’s dad and I) took Braden to Knotts Spooky Farm. It was semi-miserable as it was most likely the hottest day of the year. We really tried to stay positive and make the most of it, but man… It was HOT!

To make up for the heat-infused day, I was determined to find Braden the perfect souvenir. I really wanted to get him the traditional looking stuffed Snoopy, but nothing looked right. They all looked too fluffy. I even said so to Chris, “The only ones they have are fluffy.” 
I ended up deciding on a mini Snoopy with a backpack… Because the backpack was adorable and the least fluffy-like. Off Braden went that night down to San Diego with dad and Snoopy in tow. 

I think Snoopy stayed down in San Diego for an extended period of time, because when he made his way back up North, I completely forgot about him! I took him out of Braden’s backpack and placed him on Bradens bed. 

Later that night Braden held Snoopy up to me and said,”Fluffy!” I said “no, his name is Snoopy.” He enthusiastically replied, “no mommy, this is Fluffy!” I let it go because sure, if you want to call him Fluffy, go ahead! 
The next time I saw Chris I mentioned to him how strange it was that Braden keeps calling Snoopy, Fluffy. Chris paused, looked at me with an almost deadpan face and said, “that’s your fault.” I was so confused.. What?! My fault?! How?! Chris continued, ” you said… ‘They were all Fluffy’, when you were deciding on which Snoopy to buy. He’s been calling him Fluffy ever since we left Knotts.”

I closed my eyes so tight and fell even more in love with my son. He was right. I did say that. You don’t even have to be directly talking to him and he picks up on everything you’re saying. It’s scary but amazing all at the same time. 

I know kids are always learning and growing and surprising you every day. But, I never anticipated my own son to be so smart and in tune with his surroundings. I hope we never lose this Fluffy. Fluffy holds the secret of who my son is, at this exact moment in his life. 

I love every ounce of you my sweet baby. 

Your mama xoxo

  

   
  
   

Fluffy

How are you mine? 

Every week I keep telling myself to write. To write it all down, before I forget. But somehow time creeps on me and then it’s run out. For now, I just have a few words I’d like to say.

My son is better than me. He really is. He’s the type of guy to notice when someone needs a hug. The first one to help out with his baby cousin, Graham. The person you could find in a room and he’d offer you a smile. He is forever loving (always wanting ago snuggle), happy (always ready for a tickle party) and he genuinely has the biggest heart out of anyone I know. 

I wish I could be more like him. I know that I’m not blessed enough to possess these qualities. But, I am aware that I want more for him. It’s hard work creating someone better than you, but it is so important to me. 

Every night when I tuck Braden into bed, we whisper to each other that we love each other and we’ll see each other when the sun wakes up. Lately, he’s been wanting to come into my bed in the middle of the night. I’ve been blaming it on the fact that it’s been so cold. But I think he just wants the snuggles… ☺️ To help him stay in his bed all night, I tell him when he hears Papa he can come in my room. But like clock-work at 4:30am I wake up to Braden saying.. “Papas awake now. Papas awake now.” 

I quickly run into his room, scoop him up and away we go back into my warm bed. We snuggle for 30 seconds before he knows that he has to sleep on his own pillow. 

I don’t know what it is lately, but he just want to sleep on top of me or in the crook of my arm. It could be the cold, or it could not be? I don’t really know. But, I do know that I want to make more of an effort to just let it be. I can see these snuggles slowly fading away, and I know that I will miss it so dearly. 

He’s so loving and I hope it stays forever. But what I hope for more, is that I learn to be more loving like him. 

Who knew you could strive to be more like your own kid?! 

  
  

  

How are you mine? 

Night Mommy

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so this may be a bit rusty. I’ve been holding back on blogging because all of a sudden I’ve become so self-conscious about “oversharing”. I realize I post an almost daily picture (or 2) of my son, but I just can’t help it! And I’m here to say, that I don’t care! Well, maybe I care a little bit… But not enough to keep me from blogging from anymore. 

This was never meant to be about anyone else but me and my son. I blog for me… And Braden. I want to remember as much as I can. And I want him to know how I felt about every major or minor milestone in his life. It makes me so sad when my mom will tell me stories from my childhood that I don’t have an ounce of memory to pull from. I hope that Braden can remember a sliver of how much I loved him at this age, and what fun it is to watch him grow. So, here’s to blogging! 

Tonight. 

My heart become a new kind of full I haven’t felt before. All from 2 words. “Night mommy”. I’ll digress. 

Braden and I have spent most of the past 26 months sleeping in the same bed together. If he wasn’t with me, he was with his dad or some other family member. But, never sleeping alone. 

Co-sleeping was the best decision I could ever make for Braden and myself. My dad asked me once, “when is Braden going to sleep in his own bed?” I said, “whenever he tells me.” My dad is a very black & white guy… He didn’t get it. But, he didn’t need to. He was supportive in his own way, and ultimately it was my decision. And Braden did tell me. Not in his own words of course, but as he grew and matured I knew in my heart it was time to move on. Truth be told, we could have done it a bit sooner, but my heart wasn’t ready to let go. 

My dad convinced me to get Braden a race car bed. Chris and I weren’t super on board with it but figured… YOLO!! In actuality, I think it’s what has made this transition as easy as it has been. 

The first week I started laying in bed with him until he fell asleep. Much like I did in my bed. And every time he woke, I would go in and lay down with him until he fell asleep. I couldn’t take it! I hadn’t been up all night since he was an infant! Not only that, a twin bed is very small. And the race car aspects weren’t helping when I was crawling in and out bed… 🙂 His dad decided to just let him fall asleep on his own, and after a few struggles and miscommunications he was off to bed just fine. But, now it was my turn. 

I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was imagining what it was like when he was infant. So many tears and so much sadness. But it wasn’t anything like that! Don’t get me wrong, there were a few tears (mostly whines) and a couple yelps of wanting to snuggle… But I would calmly walk in his room and repeat that he has his own bed now, he gets to sleep all by himself, and etc. After a few trips back into his room to make him feel secure, he eventually he went to sleep. 

And then tonight. 

I tucked my little man in, gave him his animals (Mickey Mouse, Teddy Bear, a penguin, duck, and a turtle ☺️), kissed him sweetly on his cheek and said, “Goodnight Braden. Can’t wait to snuggle with you in the morning after the sun wakes up.” He said with the most cheery voice, “Night Mommy!” He then layed his head down in the pillow and made a kiss sound. 

My heart melted. When did my son grow up? Somehow I blinked and my little Braden is not so little anymore. It’s a very bittersweet time as I know he doesn’t need me as much as before…But, it is so rewarding to hear the trust in his voice and See his independence flourish.

 My goodness, I sure am enjoying watching you grow up. I feel so blessed to be along for this ride. But, can you slow it down a little bit please? I just want to sit in this moment awhile longer. 

I love you my little man! 

Xoxo

Your mama 

26 months 

   
   

Night Mommy