Carter is starting to get asked over for more and more sleepovers, and I’m not sure I am ready for it yet. These sleepovers are so far only with grandparents, but it is still weird not having him in our home for a night.

When he’s not here, our routine is all off. We usually sit down every night and spend some time with him before we go to bed. Soak in his hugs and snuggles until bedtime rolls around.

Then I tell him it is time for bed and to give mom kisses and love before I take him upstairs. This usually causes an upset face and him running to mom so she can “save” him.

He then proceeds to hold onto her really tight and snuggle with her until I come and pry him out of her arms. Sometimes we will even pretend to do a tug-of-war with him, which is greeted by a bunch of laughter.

I then progress to take him upstairs and give him kisses and hugs goodnight.

There is also a routine to putting him into bed. He has three knitted blankets and two teddy bears that need to be placed just right before he will be comfortable. Then he usually sings in bed for a half-hour until he falls asleep.

Just to make sure he doesn’t have a blanket wrapped around his head or some crazy thing like that, we will check on him one more time after he has fallen asleep and rearrange him in bed.

This routine is integral to every night with Carter, but sleepovers get in the way of this. While it is nice to have a night to ourselves, it is still really hard not to have him sleeping in the other bed where we can check on him during the middle of the night if we want to.

When we went to Alaska, it was almost unbearable. While we recognized it wouldn’t be good to bring him on the trip, it was still hard being away from him for so long. It was hard on us to talk to him behind a screen as he was wondering where we were.

We also tried a sleepover once in Ohio, but we actually couldn’t do it. We went and had a night at the movies and then on our way home had to go and get the kids. We just couldn’t leave them at our friend’s house.

I’m not sure why it is so hard having our child in a different home, but it is. On sleepover nights we think about the missed hugs and kisses, the missed opportunities to say I love you and good night. It is like we are losing time with him.

Even though this is true, we also recognize that sleeping over and staying with the grandparents is good for him. It helps make him an independent person and make memories with others that love him.

In all honesty, I think he enjoys sleepovers. It is probably harder on us than it is on him to stay with his grandparents—not to mention they are nicer to him in the sugar department.

In the grand scheme of things it is just a fear of him growing up. It feels like the first two years of his life have flown by, and I’ve been told it only flies by faster as he gets older.

So we get caught in this predicament of wanting to spend time with him and keep him safe, and yet wanting him to grow as a human being. Oh the perils of being a parent.

Before too long, it won’t be sleepovers with grandparents, but rather sleepovers with friends. Then there will be camps in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone reception. Then it will be time to move out, which will be worse than any sleepover.

Sleepovers with grandparents are only the beginning, which is what I think scares me the most. In the meantime, I guess we will continue to cherish bed time and hug him tightly every night, tell him we love him and put him in bed.

Before long we won’t even get that most nights.