A crack in the door

Every night when I go to bed I have to leave a crack in my bedroom door. Just slightly ajar.
Just wide enough so that I can see the landing.
Just wide enough so that I can see if a child gets up in the night.
Just wide enough so that the invisible tie that binds me to both of my children can snake around the architrave and into each of their rooms. For I make sure that they too have a crack in their doors.

Husband just doesn’t get it. Sure he indulges me. But I can see him raising his eyes to the ceiling when I pretend to get out of bed to fetch something after he’s shut that door right to. Click.
He knows I don’t really need something. He knows it’s a ruse. But I cannot sleep if that door remains shut. Like it’s this huge, cold steel barrier between us – not the flimsy wooden door which, on any given Saturday morning, I can hear them giggling behind like it’s paper when I’m trying to have a lie in.
So we play the silly game. He shuts the door; I get up and ‘change the thermostat’.

I’ve always had exceptionally good sleepers. It’s rare one of them wakes but if they do I know about it instantly.
And they’re grown up now. Dan is at Middle School for goodness sake. He’s Independent. They don’t need me to hover around them when they get up in the night for a drink or a wee.
They don’t need me to tuck them back into bed and make sure the door is left slightly ajar when they’ve finished.
But I do Β and I don’t want to stop.

I know it’s unreasonable but I don’t care. It’s my comfort and means I sleep soundly every night.
Knowing there is just the slightest crack in the door.


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31 Responses to A crack in the door

  1. What a beautiful post and sentiment. It works on son many levels. May all children and parents always have a figurative “crack in the door” to make them feel connected, loved and watched over. Lovely.



  2. We live in a bungalow with a loft conversion (our bedroom). All the kids sleep with their doors wide open and our bedroom doesn’t even have a door! Also have a baby monitor on daughter as she’s on a different floor to us and on her own (boys share) and she’s nearly 7! So compared to me you are totally laid back. It will be a sad day when they want their doors shut!

  3. My husband now shuts the door, started shutting in 4 months a go when son No 1 ( 28 yr old) moved back in. I HATE the door being shut, like you this started when the children were little….how are they suppose to get into your room if they have a bad dream, or need a hug before being sent back to bed? I never liked the idea. I know from a fire point of view you are suppose to leave all doors open.
    We got to the stage with the dog even the downstairs doors were opened as she liked to eat at night once dementia kicked in.

  4. Expat Mum says:

    It's not at all unreasonable. If he's anything like my husband, a meteor could fall on the house and he wouldn't wake up. I always have the door open so that I can hear the Little Guy go to the bathroom when he gets one of his nosebleeds. Although he's become very adept at handling them himself, I (being a very light sleeper) always get up to make sure he's alright (and not bleeding on the bath mats!)
    I should really close the door because I can also hear the 17 year old prowling around. Sigh.
    My recent post It Could Only Happen to Me – Part 42

  5. Melksham Mum says:

    There is a bit of me that wants to shut the door tight, switch off completely and just sleep, and forget my responsibilities. But I can't, and don't want to. I need to know they are they are there and can be heard. So I'm the kind of person that needs doors to be ajar but also the right hand curtain has to be overlapping the left one. And my drink and phone have to be in the right position on the bedside table. But I think those latter two points require a separate post on my OCD tendencies.
    My recent post A mad week

  6. Nickie says:

    I totally get this. I still do it now even though my youngest is 13. I even still go and check on him before I get into bed at night. We also still leave the landing light on. It's my comfort blanket.
    My recent post Silent Sunday

  7. During the cold winter months I've been crawling into bed beside my 4yo and sleeping with her. I'm a single mother and she has a 1.20m wide bed. I did it last year as well but once the weather gets warmer I return to sleeping in my own bed alone. Now why do I feel more need t sleep with her in the winter? My bed is just as warm once I'm in it.

  8. iotamanhattan says:

    Yes, I have the bedroom doors all open a crack too.

  9. Same. I could not imagine sleeping with the door shut. And when they're teenagers and shut me out, I'll wait until they're asleep and creak their doors open, just a little …

  10. mimiindublin says:

    Same here! I keep our door open a tad (with a shoe to stop it banging in the wind!!) but they (20, 19 and 16!) keep theirs closed. An odd night, if 20 Y/O is flitting around (i.e. doing an essay) i close it, but only when I know she's safely home for the night. It's a Mammy thing!!! Obviously!

  11. Charlene says:

    Such a beautiful post! I can totally relate! I can't ever imagine sleeping with my door closed, ever, even though my girls have always slept soundly throughout the night.

  12. JallieDaddy says:

    Doesn't apply to us as ours still co-sleep, although not really by choice. But I can understand it. Lovely post

  13. Oh yes *nods vigorously* I do this too…and so does my man πŸ™‚
    My recent post Thirteen

  14. jacqui2000 says:

    OH insists on closing the door, and I hate it; it makes me feel really nervous having that barrier between me and the girls. When he's away visiting his family I always overcompensate by keeping the door r-e-a-l-l-y wide open. HA!
    My recent post SILENT SUNDAY (17 february)

  15. 21st century mummy says:

    My husband insists on leaving the door wide open, as he says he can’t hear the kids if they wake up. The problem is I’m always the one that wakes up!

  16. HerMelness Speaks says:

    This post resonated completely. It was never an issue with my late husband, but I forgot how important it was to me all those years ago until this lovely post reminded me.
    My recent post The Jerry Maguire Post

  17. Mummy X says:

    I can completely understand the feeling or not wanting to cut that invisible tie. I still have three monitors next to my bed every night even though we really don't need them, plus the door open. I honestly feel like I wouldn't be able to sleep properly without them. I think there are many, many mums out there who feel like you (maybe even all of them!)
    My recent post Bags of style

  18. I feel the same. My toddler is 23 months and I still sleep with a monitor so if she twitches or makes or a noise or if I just feel like it I can turn on the screen and see her. I can check she's ok, I feel closer to her, the invisible tie is always there.
    My recent post Beach Fun at Kapiti Coast

  19. Rosanne says:

    Such a beautiful well written post. I completely understand where you are coming from, thing is my children have all left home and I still need to have that door open!

  20. Laura says:

    This is exactly what I’m like! I have a funny thing about always checking on Izzy before I eat my dinner, and I sometimes have an overwhelming urge to check on her even after I’ve been in bed for half an hour. I also like the door open.you are not alone!

  21. Suzanne says:

    Lovely post and I only wish I could say the same – I can't sleep if there's a crack in the door….or the curtains…or a chink of light coming in anywhere! I have to trust that my babies are ok.
    My recent post Blogging: is it a betrayal of our children's privacy?

  22. Liska says:

    totally understand x
    My recent post The Gallery – Boys

  23. PhotoPuddle says:

    I totally get this too. I reckon my four year old would still have the baby monitor in her room if we hadn't needed it for her baby brother.
    My recent post 'Greendoor' by jimj0will

  24. funderstanding says:

    I was really struck by how you subtly shifted the time through such a short post.

    In the beginning, I felt like I was in the room, experiencing the back and forth between you and your husband, feeling a breeze coming in through the crack in the door that lets you know how your young children are doing. But by the end, this whole piece could be just a momentary reflection. The door, the thermostat, the crack in the door, the loving back and forth has always been the same since your children needed help getting a drink until they grew up.

    Time changes. But just as the items and events in the room have not changed since then until now, so too does a mother's desire to connect, love, and look over their children never change.

    Brilliant reflection…and I'm not even a mother! πŸ™‚

  25. funderstanding says:

    Felt like I was in the room, experiencing the back and forth between you and your husband, feeling a breeze coming in through the crack in the door. What truly stuck with me was how a momentary reflection of a crack in the door perfectly revealed a mother's never ending desire to always look out for her children. Loved it, and I'm not even a mom! πŸ™‚

  26. Pingback: Do you ever stop worrying about your children? - Sticky FingersSticky Fingers

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