In my heart, they are the same. When we are awake, they are the same. We eat. We play. We make messes. We go for walks. We clean up. We watch silly things on television. And then it’s time to sleep.
And it’s NOT the same. When a child wakes up in fear, unable to go back to sleep, we have to sit together in a chair. Me praying for peace for the little one. And then I put him back in the crib, only for him to wake again in a few hours. We repeat the same steps. Because he isn’t my own and I’m not allowed to let him sleep in my bed, his little feet touching me just barely, enough to know that mom or dad is there. Enough to not fear.
I’m reminded of a night a very long time ago, when a frazzled and tired young mom decided to follow “expert” advice. She put the child gate up across the door of her 2yo’s room after putting him to bed. “Let him cry it out!” That’s what the experts said. The experts didn’t tell me how my heart would break when I found my sweet, red-headed little boy sleeping in the doorway, tears still fresh on his face.
Now I cry in remembrance of his broken little heart and for these new little hearts that will also break just a little.