I feel the mattress shift as additional weight is added to it. The covers realign from the cozy position they’ve been in since I went to sleep. A pillow moves ever so slightly.
“Cady, go back to your bed babe.”
“No. You have to sleep in your own bed.”
I hear the tears as she slides off the bed, and the mattress sighs as though releasing a sorrowful breath. I understand. I don’t want her to leave either, but I know she must.
So many nights she has lain next to me, cradled in the crook of my arm. So many mornings I’ve awaken to see her face resting next to mine.
But also so many nights one of us has gone without sleep, or not enough. Mostly me.
But it is not just about a good night’s sleep. It is so much more than that.
It is the growing up. The being big. The learning to let go a little at a time. Me of her, and her of me.
As she makes her way back to her room, I turn to face the wall, clutching my pillow closely, willing away the feeling that something is missing. The mattress readjusts to the weight of two instead of three, and I wonder if we will ever not feel empty, the mattress and me, without the weight of three.