Every night, my husband and I do a bedtime routine with our daughter, Bellamy. We were never routine people, and we just started the process of her sleeping in her own room. Although she’s been a pretty good sleeper from the start, we knew at the first year mark she would be out of the age range for SIDS. As her first birthday approaches, we have been taking back some of our together time at night and putting her down by herself.
She initially didn’t love this, but it only took a few tries and the purchase of a sound and light machine to make great progress. To help her understand we are winding down, we brush her teeth, read a book and say a prayer.
By “say a prayer,” I don’t mean, “Now I lay me down to sleep … blah blah blah soul to take.” No judgement, but that rhyme personally weirds me out. As Matt holds Bellamy and she puts her head on his shoulder (thumb in mouth), we walk together into her room. There’s always a ton of hugs, baby head kisses and swaying. It’s the one time each day we come together in a moment of quiet and reflect on how grateful we are to be a family.
I love listening to Matt pray for Bellamy. He always asks that she would feel protected, that she would know she’s not being abandoned. He asks for her to feel freedom and safety and joy. He pleads she would know her identity and not question whether or not she’s loved. Matt spent some time during his youth estranged from family, and there are still family members somewhat absent from his life. I think the idea of abandonment, broken relationships and the hurt that comes with that plays a huge role in his fatherhood. It’s very important to him our daughter knows we are always there. After asking for her to be shielded from feeling alone in life, he says, “We are only 30 feet away, darling.”
He’s simply a wonderful dad, a wonderful person. He loves her so much. He will thank God for her while I thank God for him. Like so many young, new parents, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the difficulties of life and look at the circumstances of each day to validate or nullify our worth. I’m so thankful we started this nightly routine and take a minute to be grateful and intentional in our speech. It truly binds us! I hope we can always unify in this way, loving our children together and fighting for them in the best way we know how … all while being just 30 feet away, darling.