A good man is hard to find.

Micah strums her new guitar.

This is the story of how this guitar came into her beautiful, tender little hands.

So I try not to take him for granted, though taking things for granted seems to be part of married life perhaps hidden in the “baggage” we bring along. Really, this is a post about sleeping- and Patrick’s gifts as a father. We have an open bed policy in our home- if someone is scared or has a nightmare, they come into our bed until they fall asleep again (and we move them quietly back to their own beds). None of our children used cribs- we coslept with a bed rail until they were ready to ventue out into their own beds.

Max proved to be a smooth transition- he falls asleep quickly and easily without particular preferences for a bedtime routine. Micah, on the other hand, had trouble sleeping since she was 2 weeks old and crying took up a better part of her day. She is what Dr. Sears would call our “high needs child”- going to sleep requires a story, a cup of milk warmed just right, my hair in her fist, a cover, and so on. Usually, she falls asleep in our bed and then Patrick moves her to her bed in the kids room (our kids all share a room).

Last night, my handsome husband offered Micah an alternative. As Micah perched in his lap, detailing her day, Patrick interrupted:j

“Hey Micah, I have an idea. Why don’t you try to fall asleep in your own bed tonight?”

Micah scowled and refused.

“Why not? If it is because you are scared, you can call us and we’ll come to kiss you. We don’t have to turn out lights or shut the door. I think you might be ready for the adventure of sleeping in your own bed…. Let’s pretend you did decide to put yourself to sleep in your own bed tonight, how would it make you feel to know you can do that?”

Micah thought hard and scrunched up her forehead.

“It would make me feel big… like Max. Cause I would be all grown up. But I think I would need to have a necklace.”

Pat jumped in immediately:

“You mean a necklace for girls who fall asleep in their own beds? A special necklace to show who you are and how you’re growing and changing? I think that’s a great idea! You wanna try it?”

Surprisingly, Micah decided she wanted to try. We explained that she was welcome to come to our bed if she changed her mind, but she seemed pretty determined. After much fluffing of pillows and dolls and blankets and books, she laid her little head down and watched us walk away. We settled in the living room to chat and then, suddenly, Patrick suggested that Micah was probably asleep. Sure enough, sweet Micah fell asleep and woke up in her own bed to much ballyhooing and celebrating.

Today, we took a field trip with Tino to the thrift store to select her special necklace. She wanted Milla and Max to get a necklace as well in honor of her accomplishment, so everyone left with a necklace. I also couldn’t resist forking out an extra $3 for her first guitar because I admire and respect her determination and Micah-ness.

It soothes this mother’s heart to know Micah’s transition to falling asleep in her bed will not involce coercion, crying, ignoring, or sadness- that Micah can take credit for taking the bigger steps which might seem daunting but are nonetheless her own. She deserves that feeling of accomplishment, that first taste of courage. On a different yet interlaced note, there is nothing sexier than a man who keeps his thumb on the pulse of his children’s hearts. A man like Patrick. A man who respects my intuitions as a mother although they are not trending or popular or even acceptable in some circles.

In honor of Micah and Patrick, both of whom have the propensity to rock, here’s a little guitar riff to shake, rattle, and roll. Because I’m just that happy.

GALLOWS POLE by Led Zeppelin (mp3)