I sit on the edge of her bed, waiting for her to stop stalling at bed time.
“One more snack, Mama.”
“You’ve had three already.”
“I want yogurt.”
“But you’ve had four yogurts already today.”
“Do you have watermelon?’
“Ok, I’ll have that.”
“Oh...” she continues so innocently, “and water too.“
I sigh and trudge down our country stairs (they creak and moan under my weight). She has always been both demanding and overwhelmingly sweet, our daughter. She’s five now, and an expert at this sort of tactic. Every night it’s the same ordeal. She stalls, I get frustrated. She stalls more, I finally get frustrated enough that she knows to stop and go to sleep.
I come back with the watermelon and water. I’m such a push-over, I know it. She munches and I impatiently think of all the things I still have to accomplish before my usual midnight repose.
“I want you to hold me for lullabies, Mama.”
Her big blue eyes search mine. I’m tired. I don’t really feel like ‘holding’ in this moment. But she crawls into my lap and puts her head on my chest, arms around my neck. Her slight frame completely limp in my arms.
“Hold me like you used to, Mama.”
My face softens in the dimly lit room. This child of mine – when did she get so big? I rock her and quietly hum a favorite tune. Yes, I remember this well. The baby who would not go to sleep unless rocked in a sling while pacing the room – perhaps I contributed to this night time upset just a little? I hold her close and kiss her soft forehead. Long curls fall across her cheeks.
The peace that overtakes us in this moment is worth a million steps up and down that stalling staircase. My heart is calmed. She’s in a blissful existence in her Mama’s arms. And I’m realizing how I’ve allowed myself to be annoyed by the very thing I should be cherishing.
My daughter, she only wants me.
No, she probably isn’t hungry (especially when she’s already had three snacks). And no, she probably doesn’t need one more glass of water. What she needs, is me.
The snack. The water. Just ways to get Mama to come back.
I gulp back tears.
|Because they really do go from this…|
|to this… in, well, the leap of a frog…|
In my arms – this soul of a girl. So in need of care. Of acceptance. Of God’s grace and immense love. So in need of a Mama who is always there. Who always wants her. Who will still rock her – even when she’s tired and doesn’t (really) feel like it. Because it’s in those moments that Mama is taught by daughter.
Cherish the small, tender moments. Don’t rush them. Don’t be quick to end the day… to end the hugs and kisses. We are not promised the morning. We are only promised this embrace.
Oh God, teach me to always be aware of the gifts. Of the tender rock-a-byes and the precious, priceless people-gifts you have placed in my arms.