Sometimes, late at night, the soft whisper of feet on the floor gently pulls me from sleep as one of the children appears by my bed, groggy, disoriented, and asking to climb in. I silently lift the covers and shift slightly to allow a warm, tiny body to curl up next to mine. Wrapping my arms around the little person next to me, I feel their heart beating wildly in their chest. I wait for it to slow, for their breathing to deepen, and then I relax knowing that whatever inner storm that woke them has passed. Together we fall slowly and softly to sleep, drifting into dreams that swirl contentedly between us.
The sweetness of the moment is almost enough to make up for the inevitable hour when I wake up to find a foot pressed up against my cheek, followed by flailing arms, a puddle of drool, and missing sheets.
This pretty much sums up what parenting small children is like. Heartbreakingly beautiful moments followed by pain, confusion, mess and exhaustion. One giant ball of unexpectedly difficult joy.