Lying on my back on the floor of my daughters’ bedroom, staring up at the wall as I wait for them to drift off to sleep, one in a toddler bed on my right, and one in a toddler bed on my left. I have to wait until the two year old is truly out because as soon as I move to leave the room, I hear “Mommy” coming from her corner of the room and she immediately will start to stir when the hallway light hits her face. I know because it has happened a million times when I try to leave the room and so I might as well just lie here and wait. It may be awhile.
The soft swishing sound of blankets sliding on sheets and the lulling lullaby of the sound machine fill the room. There is no sound of heavy breathing yet so I know they are still awake but their eyes are closed and that is a start at least.
Stretched out there on the hard floor, with a kid-sized pillow under my head, my eyes wander up to the dim figures of glittering princesses parading along the top of the walls, their pink ball gowns and trailing curls lit by the glow of the night light. The princesses curtsey on each side of the softly swaying fabric flowing down from the ceiling to surround each of my sleeping girls with a canopy. I can barely make out their little legs curled under fleece blankets and suddenly a thought struck: Someday they will be too old for princesses.
My daughters love princesses, all the Disney ones and all the fairy tale ones, all the real and imaginary ones. And so I have created for them an entire princess bedroom complete with canopies over their beds and castle decals. They have a room that is 100 % girl with Barbies and baby dolls and ribbons but someday they will be too old to want a princess room anymore. Someday they won’t parade around in high heeled dress up shoes and jeweled crowns and announce excitedly, “Look mom, I’m a princess!” Someday they won’t twirl in the living room with ribbons pretending to be ballerinas and they will no longer ask to be read fairytales. Someday they will grow up.
As I listen to their breathing become slower and deeper, I have this vision of myself peeling the castles and princesses off the walls and packing them up in boxes. I start wondering what I would do with all that girly stuff when they grew up and if I would be able to give it away or if the sentimental value would be too much for me to part with. I guess I will find out when I reach that stage of parenthood.
But for now I will lie here, watching my children’s eyes droop and their hands clutch their dolls and stuffed animals. I will watch my three year old sleep with her golden curls nestled against the golden hair of her favorite Rapunzel doll. I will stroke my two year old’s cheek as she snuggles with a pony I bought before she was born with the hopes that my daughter would love it someday. For now I will enjoy the fact that they are here, that they are still my babies, resting under their princess canopies. And
perhaps what I will especially enjoy, (because I am an exhausted mom), is that they are asleep….. at least for now.