It was already past their bedtimes when my oldest hatched a plan. With a twinkle in his eye, he asked if he and his brothers could sleep in the guest room that night.
The question struck me funny since they already share a room. But clearly this new location held some brotherly draw for them and ignoring the time, I said yes. In short order, all three of my boys were under blankets in beds and the lights were off for the night. Our dog joined the fun and found a spot to lie down and we left them all to fall asleep.
Though that is not what they did.
From downstairs I could hear the hubbub. My boys were laughing out loud in the dark, voices ranging from high to low, giggling and chatting and talking together.
I looked again at the clock. It was after 10:00 and they were still wide awake! With my momma hat on, I headed for the stairs to correct them, and then I decided to stop. Instead of going up to end the fun, I sat right there and listened. I soaked up the way they freely talked and smiled at the stories they told. I found myself lost in the amazing sound that boys aged 9, 13, and 15 can make together.
Time kept on moving but I held myself there. I pushed back the worries about not enough sleep and focused on the gift of the night. Tomorrow they might be tired, but they will always remember this time. They will remember when momma said yes and they snuggled under blankets with the dog and each other and laughed until late and shared what they thought and fell asleep talking it through.
I wanted them to have that gift.
And as I sat on that step in the dark of the house, I knew I could have it, too.
There are plenty of days when we need to be strict and set clear limits and go to bed on time. There are plenty of days when we have to say no and we go to bed mad and we miss out on fun. But on this Friday night, I could offer that yes and the wonder of it all was a gift to them and me.
As we learn to live family together, we need times like this. Times for release and times to bond and times when we laugh at nothing at all. Our children hang their memories on moments like these and so do we. Homework assignments handed in on time and laundry put neatly away may matter for the here and now. But the sound of my boys giggling in the dark is something I get to keep. It is a snapshot of a simple day when I let the crazy play out and sat still on the stairs to listen.
This, I will remember forever.