THE BLOG
09/10/2014 04:27 pm ET Updated Nov 10, 2014

The Importance of Sleep

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When I was younger, I wholeheartedly believed that sleep was overrated. There was so much to do and experience that I knew if I was sleeping I could be missing out on something amazing.

As I got older I learned to appreciate sleep. My appreciation increased over the years, particularly when I started working and specifically when I had my son. At which time I became excited for any opportunity to get some rest. I actually looked forward to it and day dreamed about the moment that all tasks for the day would be complete, the house would become quiet and I would get to close my eyes and drift off to several hours of blissful sleep before the next crazy day began.

Last night, however, I had an experience that took me right back to the day when I believed that if I was sleeping I was missing out on something amazing.

It had been one of those days... nothing seemed to be going my way. I was looking forward to leaving work, coming home to have some good quality family time and finally get some of that much needed sleep we all know and love. The night was going just as planned. After bath time, I read to my son until he fell asleep, hung out with my husband (just me and him!) for a bit and then headed to bed to drift off to sleep myself.

In the very early hours of the morning I woke up to the sound of my son calling for me from his room. I sleepily made my way to his room in the dark, kneeled down next to him, rubbed his back and asked what he needed. In his sweet toddler voice he replied, "Hi Mom! Can we get cozy?" My heart melted.

He wasn't sick, hadn't had a bad dream or needed a drink of water. He simply wanted to spend a few more minutes of this day with me. In that moment, sleep was no longer important to me.

As I laid with him, he told me stories, sang to me and did anything he could to make me laugh. Despite how tired I was I found myself enjoying every last minute of our impromptu date, sleep deprivation and all. Every bit of worry and stress I had about my day melted away. In that moment nothing else mattered but the stories he wanted to share with me.

We talked about "Critter Day" at school and how the Tortoise (NOT turtle) was his favorite part of the day, we laughed as he sang "The Hungry Dino" song and practiced our alphabet and numbers until he drifted off to sleep. As I laid there looking at him with his sweet tiny hands on my cheeks, nose to nose, morning breath and messy hair, I found myself thinking about how I could have missed this amazing moment had I simply given him a hug and gone back to bed. I studied the curve of his nose, his beautiful eyelashes and the cadence of his breath. What an amazing little person he is. What a lucky mom I am.

I realized how lucky I am to get these extra little moments with him, just me and him. It dawned on me that there may come a day when he is too old or too cool to call me into his room to simply ask me for a hug, see me for a couple more minutes, try to make me laugh or get so excited to tell me a little more about his day that he can't wait until morning.

Being woken up in the middle of the night on occasion is one more moment, one more memory, one more incredible experience I get to have with my son. Morning breath, messy hair, hugs, laughs and the best conversation I could ever ask for. I wouldn't trade these moments for anything in this world -- not even several blissful hours of much needed sleep.