I heard a bump in the night. If I’m being totally honest, I heard several bumps, but it took a few minutes of brain time for Anxiety Hotbed to argue with Stubborn Denial over whether to shake my snoring spouse awake. Sometimes I listen to true crime podcasts and forget to check our deadbolts for a fourth time before bed, so I feel a little guilty when I sound the false alarm every night.

Back to the bump in the night. I sat up to listen closer, and I realized the bump was more like a step-shuffle-slide. I was either about to get murdered by a drunk salsa dancer, or one of my little sleep walkers was at it again. I weighed heavily on my options, googled salsa dancers for a few minutes, then took a chance and got up to check on the noise all by myself. I’ll pause for applause. Thank you.

It was Ten. He was shuffling around the living room with his eyes half open. This is nothing new. He usually wanders around the house a little and finds his way back to bed, his nightly stroll only evidenced by the strange things he moves around. He once stacked all our living room throw pillows on top of his soundly sleeping dad before I woke up and broke up the party.

Back to Ten. I said, “Hey Bud, let’s get you back in bed” as I gently steered his shoulders back toward his bedroom. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t wake a sleepwalking child because it might scare them, but technically he scared me first, so…? Ten started to climb into his bed and said, “I need a drink. Where’s the hydrant?”

I knew he was sleeping, but against my better judgement, I decided to walk him to the kitchen to get a sip of water. I let him lead the way (because salsa dancers), and I had a little chuckle at his step-ball-change as we transitioned from the carpeted living room onto the cold kitchen floor. I have no idea what a step-ball-change actually looks like, but I’m sure he nailed it.

Ten walked directly to the refrigerator. I saw what was happening, but I couldn’t process it in time to stop it. I’m not sure I would have anyway. The boy cupped his hands and stuck them under the water tap, letting the frigid water pour out into his palms. “Oh!” He was surprised. I laughed out loud, because I’m a good mom. I grabbed his cup of water off the kitchen table and handed it to him. He had fixed it before bed and it still had ice in it. He took it from me, looked at me like I’m dumb, dumped the ice water out in the sink, and tipped it back and attempted to drink from the empty cup. He looked puzzled again. I was already starting to giggle again when he chucked the plastic cup across the kitchen floor and said, “Daddy, this is hard.” I laughed as hard as I have ever silently laughed in my life as I helped him get a sip of water and got him back to bed, still sleeping just as soundly as he was when I found him wandering around the living room.

Fifteen minutes ago I was all amped up to struggle to sleep to the familiar tune of my self-induced nightmares, but instead I had myself a belly laugh and I’m falling asleep thinking about how devoid of comedy my life would be without my children.