A lesson in priorities
This is all very annoying to me, because this is Loaf, my sleep-challenged child. She has asked me to sit here with her tonight until she drifts off, and while I don’t always indulge her, I want to just sit and read my book anyway, so I might as well sit in her room.
It’s after 9 p.m. and at some point I have to get up and start pulling together things for work tomorrow. I need her to go to sleep.
I am at the foot of her bed, propped up with my feet directed toward her pillows.
She flops over, sings the alphabet, then flops back to the other side.
She is looking at me. I pretend not to notice thinking, foolishly I know, that ignoring her will make her settle down.
She sits up, pitches forward and grabs my arm.
“I want to kiss you, Mom.”
I lean forward and she plants a soft kiss on my forehead. She is thrilled with herself. She hurls herself back onto her pillow.
“That was very nice, Loaf, but now its bedtime. Please go to sleep.”
I read less than two pages when she rolls onto her side, embraces my lower legs and kisses one of my shins.
“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you too, Loaf. Now please go to bed.”
Instead of reading, I eyeball her over the top of my book. She is looking at the ceiling. She lifts her arm and makes delicate fluttery motions with her fingers, fascinated with the long shadows they make on the wall. She sees me watching her and smiles.
Not just any smile, but one of those ear-to-ear, filled-with-love, glowing from within smiles that makes my breath catch in my lungs.
I can’t help it. I smile back.
I sit forward and lean over her. She wraps her little arms tightly around my neck and I kiss her. She kisses back with a loud, wet smacking sound.
We repeat the kissing a couple more times. She smiles even more widely than before.
“OK, I’m ready to go to sleep now.” She lays back, closes her eyes and within minutes is sleeping.
I sat there, on her bed, for a while longer reading my book at times, but also just watching her – the gentle rise and fall of her chest. The rosebud mouth. The wild tangle of curls. A look of utter peace on her face.
These quiet moments are so rare.
I didn't get everything pulled together for work as I'd hoped and ended up running around pulling things together at the last minute. But I wouldn't trade that time in her room for anything. I believe I spent my time doing something much more worthwhile.