It was almost 11:00 and my two year old was still up and thinking she needed a snack. Her Dad tried to take her to bed but she refused and eventually won the battle and ended up upstairs with me. I thought about putting her to bed but at the same time some company sounded nice. She climbed up next to me with her wild hair and her brothers old T-shirt on, sporting a silly little grin that could melt the hardest of hearts. She knew she had won the battle of bedtime, but for once I decided to just let her be. For once, I decided just to be in the moment with her. I pushed aside the nagging thoughts that said she needed to be in bed. Her brain is developing and she needs 10-12 hours of sleep. The thoughts that if I don’t get her in bed I’ll be paying the price tomorrow…but instead I just let her be.
I had popped some popcorn and was watching a movie to side track my ever going mind. My best friend’s birthday was today and she had a fantastic BBQ with all of her amazing friends and I couldn’t stop thinking about how my Mom would’ve just loved it. She would’ve loved everyone getting together and laughing. She would’ve loved her grandkids and the other kids running and playing. She would’ve loved seeing my best friend smiling next to her fiancé in her beautiful home. She would’ve loved it, and she should’ve been there. I never see the big waves of grief coming but sometimes I’m a little more prepared than others. So tonight I just popped some popcorn and turned on a movie, but her unexpected company was refreshing.
My two year old snuck bites of popcorn and she giggled everytime. I’d say, “heyyy, aren’t you supposed to be in bed?!” And she would laugh and laugh. She grabbed a brush and started brushing my hair, it’s something she has loved to do since she was old enough to hold a brush. For a minute I just sat there embracing the moment. I sat there thankful for her innocence and praying I can protect it for all of my days. She told me stories while she brushed my hair and I just sat there and let her be.
At around 11:00 I figured I better get her to bed so I headed to the kitchen for some water. She decided she was hungry and I’m sure she wasn’t, but I got her a snack anyway. We sat up in the kitchen while she ate her cottage cheese and yogurt and we were just present with each other. I try to be present with my kids but some days I look down at them and I’m not even sure when they got so big. I have never wanted to miss a moment of their lives which is why I rarely work and I hardly ever leave them with anyone…but sometimes since I’m with them all the time I accidentally take these moments for granted. The little tedious moments that seem so mundane but that shape them into who they will be someday.
Mom’s have so much pressure put on them and a lot of the time our hardest critic is ourself. We are so preoccupied in doing the things we think we should be doing that we forget to just live. We forget to embrace these mundane but beautiful moments with our children. We get caught up in what everyone else is doing with their kids or what we have been told we should be doing. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough and we need to try harder. It’s exhausting.
There is nothing wrong with setting goals to be better Mom’s, but sometimes we need to set aside the pressure and what we think we are supposed to be doing and just be present with them. Just let them be children. Innocent and beautiful children. I thought I was doing my daughter a favor by letting her stay up past bedtime to hang out with me but really it was for me. Her giggles were therapeutic and the alone time with her is irreplaceable. Yeah, I may pay the price tomorrow for the late night but it was worth it.
I think sometimes we need to slow down and just let them be kids. Sometimes I try so hard to be a good Mom that I forget to just do life with them. It’s been a hell of a year for my family and my kids have been rock stars. The life they knew was uprooted and turned into chaos. They lost a Nana and then an uncle and all of their adults changed over night. The family they had always had changed and they were forced to adapt to a new town, a new home, and parents that acted completely different.
And they are still rockstars. They just keep doing life with such grace. They giggle like it’s going out of style. They play like they have never been hurt. They love like they have never seen pain. So sometimes I need to just let them be, because at the end of the day I could learn a lot from their resilience. I could learn a lot from the way they forgive and love no matter what. I think we all could learn from them. There is definitely a reason that children are Jesus’ favorite, just hang out with a 2 year old at 11:00 at night if you need to gain perspective in this world. We just need to stop over complicating things, and just let it be.
She is fast asleep on me now and I will embrace every second of her sleeping with me, because one day she won’t want to lay with me anymore. So for now, I’ll just let her be.