When she’s here, I make a bed on the floor next to our bed by stacking comforters and pillows. I turn down the blankets and put a stuffed animal on the pillow and my nine-year old granddaughter climbs in and goes right to sleep.

She ought to be sleeping in her own room. None of our own kids ever slept in our room except one very sick boy, fresh from being adopted in Nicaragua, who was sweating through the flu. He was sticky and fretting all night, his diaper sodden and reeking in the morning. “That’s the last night he’s spending in here,” my husband said in the morning, “That’s it.”

I pretended to disagree but didn’t really.

I had enough of my kids during the day. There was no reason to sleep with them, too.

But now I don’t care if my granddaughter is sleeping on the floor next to our bed. I don’t even need a reason. If she was thirty and visiting, I’d probably be curious. But now? I don’t care. She visits. She’s here for a night and then she goes home. Whether I let her sleep on the floor next to our bed or insist that she sleep in her room is just so many angels on the head of a pin.

Who really cares?

It makes me wonder how many meaningless things I worried about when I was raising my four children. So many things fell under the rubric of ‘preventing chaos,’ as in chaos will result if people are sleeping on the floor or eating pizza for breakfast or wearing the same shirt five days in a row.

What would have happened if I hadn’t cared? Would there have been more energy for other things? Like reading books or having conversations?  Not their books necessarily or conversations with them but overall, would I have had more time for life had I not been focusing on each one’s shirt-wearing behavior?

The forensic detective in me wants to go back and dust for evidence, find a link between my oatmeal obsession  (not for me, for them) and their success in life. What exactly was the ROI (Return on Investment) of my elaborate chaos prevention program?

Two of my four children always eat breakfast. None of them sleeps on the floor. When I see them now and then, none of them seems to have on the same clothes. I think these achievements are substantial but might have occurred without me.

I pose this question – whether I worried about the right things when my children were growing up – for no particular or useful reason. As mothers we both grossly over and underestimate our important in our children’s lives. When I finally sort this out, I will be staring at the satin lining of my casket.

But right now? It matters not. I had my run with my children. The season for chaos prevention has passed. I relax into chaos. I am at home with chaos.

I may sleep on the floor myself.