Last night as Dave slept on the couch, unable to manage the stairs after knee surgery, I felt a warm cuddly body climb into bed next to me. It was my baby, my Dane. He had a bad dream. He needed me. I happily rolled over and pulled him close. His body still smaller than mine, the only body smaller than mine in the entire house. His hair smelling clean and soapy. He calmed immediately and within seconds was back asleep.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a small body nestled next to me. Somehow, in all the busyness of every day life, my kids have gotten too big for sleeping with mom. I didn’t even notice we had passed this stage until last night. Last night I realized how much I missed being woken in the middle of night. How much I treasure those quiet moments at oh-dark-thirty, just me and baby, cuddling together.

Everyone is different, but me? I’m a co-sleeper. I think beyond our immediate attraction, one of the things that bond me & Dave the most is that we are both co-sleepers. We met when Christian was 1; Soren & Nick were 3. He co-slept. I co-slept. When we weren’t home, both of us worked grave-yards for different companies, our parents watched our babies. His parents co-slept.  My parents co-slept. Let’s face it, we’re co-sleepers. That word is driving me nuts. It’s now stuck in my head.  I’m still a big fan. Nothing warms my heart, and my ice-cold feet, like sharing my bed with 1, 2, 3 or more little bodies.

I just realized it’s been an entire month. I’m still in shock. Somehow, magically, my baby hit double digits. Dane is 10. It certainly explains why there hasn’t been a lot of sleeping with mom (and dad) in my house. We still have family movie nights in our bed. Everyone brings a pillow, a quilt, a blankie, and piles on our bed. A puppy pile we call it. And we watch a movie. Or try to watch a movie. The chattering, blanket tugging, pillow fighting and plain old fighting for more space on our too-small-for-mooses bed makes actual movie watching hard. Not that it’s about the movie.

We do things in a pack. We stick together. Even more so since leaving the states behind, our families behind. Here, where it’s just us, we are close. We have just each other. Our extended family, our Army family, comes and goes. It changes. We have to adapt. Our only constant is each other, and we value that. We need that more than I realized consciously until last night when Dane crawled in next to me. Dane who is 10. 10!

For Dane’s birthday we’d, again, gone to our happy place: The Klettergarten, aka the climbing gardens. There’s nothing like gearing up, climbing trees, and zipping down through the forest. This time we brought almost his entire class. Too many for me to put on my harness and climb up, instead I stayed on the forest floor and played traffic director.

“Where’s Dane?” … apricot course.
“Where’s Felix?” … red course.
“Where’s Julia?” …. green course.
“Where’s the bathroom?”… you get the gist. I got so busy pointing and counting noses I stopped taking pictures! But believe me, it was a great day.

Learning to use the safety carabiners. Look at the steep wall in the background!

Tess is a pro, she’s helping Dane’s friends harness up.

Dane is not wanting his picture taken. It’s already starting.

Cole was too cool to climb… for the first half hour, then he too swung from the trees.

Dane demonstrates how to use the carabiners to always have one clipped to the safety line.

And how to “walk” with your legs at the end of a zipline to hit the ground running… and not get dragged.

And that was it… they all grasped the concept of Safety First and my 15 kids charged up eight different trees. I had no time to look through the lens, instead I stared intently up at the canopy. Counting noses. Watching little bodies fly through the sky and hearing giggles, screams and laughter.