After three years of sleeping in the same room, tonight my children will sleep apart for the first time. For a while now they’ve each been complaining that the other one wakes them in the morning, though I think the separation has more to do with asserting their independence. I smiled when they came to us together, “We want to separate our beds.” It took us a minute to figure out what they were saying. Then a few days later one of them came to us and mentioned again that they wanted their own room.
We actually let it go for a few weeks thinking they might change their minds. Periodically we would hear the complaint, “He wakes me up in the morning even though I want to sleep more.” But more often it was the other way around. My little girl is playful and doesn’t like to be alone. She jumps around in the morning, sings to herself, whispers to him until he happens to wake up. Then she is surprised when he is tired, rubs his sleepy eyes and asks her what she wants to play.
It’s been this way for years. I knew it had to end. A combination of needing privacy and changing interests would inevitably separate them, I knew this consciously. But for them to come to me of their own will, asking in matter of fact tones, to move their previously settled lives, lives I had become accustomed to, I’m not sure I am ready. Still, their father and I looked at each other, agreed on a day, took apart one of the beds, moved it over to the other room. It has always been a pretty pink room ready for this day.
I don’t know yet what will happen to our bedtime routine. I know things will change, life changes. We will have to decide in whose room to read the story and how long to tuck in and we will definitely have to make sure there is no going back and forth between rooms. I’m always impressed by how easily children adapt and move forward. It’s the adults in their life who are left to adjust slowly. It reminds me that they are growing up, finding their own way. It reminds me that one day it is moving beds from one room to the other and in a few years it is moving out, into dorms, apartments, new lives. It just makes me think of these things and get a little sad, a lot nostalgic.