The other night, after a long day of two sick & unhappy children, several temper tantrums, and about a thousand and a half sneezes and runny nose wipes - it was finally bath and then bedtime.
I'd lost my temper a few times that day... more than I typically do and more than I'd like to admit. There were at least two or three times that day where I raised my voice above my normal calm tone. I don't think I actually yelled but there were certainly times that I wasn't able to mask the upset in my own voice when responding to the little voices around me.
After DH and I bathed the kids, DH took Little Man to read in our room while I nursed Little Lady to sleep. After Little Lady was fast asleep, I went back into our room and Little Man asked me if I would take him to bed. When I walked him into his room, instead of getting into bed and saying goodnight, he instead asked if I would rock him.
I definitely took a double take.
Seeing as Little Man is almost three, that hasn't happened in quite a long time. I can honestly remember rocking him one night a month or two before Little Lady was born and crying quietly to myself as he drifted to sleep - knowing that these days in which he needed my comfort in this way to fall asleep were probably very numbered.
When he asked me to rock to sleep, I honestly thought at first that it was just a stall tactic so that he wouldn't have to go to bed. However, when I said yes - he immediately crawled up into my arms and laid his head on my shoulder and let out a big sigh. It was really cute though, when I began to rock back and forth, he kindly alerted me that I needed to walk. When I began to walk, Little Man started telling me where I should turn and which directions I should be walking until I was pacing a path suitable for his preference.
Rocking a toddler, people - I tell ya.
After I had rocked for a few minutes, he leaned back away from me and looked straight into my eyes with a kind of grin that catches. He just kept staring at me, smiling - like we had this perfect little inside joke that no one else knew. After a minute or two, I couldn't hold it in anymore and starting cracking up laughing - which of course prompted Little Man to begin to giggle for a few minutes as well. We just stood there, in the middle of his room, me holding him, laughing for several minutes.
It was perfect.
It was like none of that bad day had ever happened. It was like no matter what, we were the perfectly connected mother and child that we've always been.
I get so, so afraid sometimes. Afraid of the time passing too quickly. Afraid that I'll miss one of these moments I should have seen or forget one of those fantastically important details that I've tried so hard to burn into my brain. But this, I mean this moment. It just shows me, right?
That even though it hurts so badly that your baby is not longer a baby - even as much as you tell yourself they still are - that there will always be these moments. You may feel them in a different way, and they may happen in a changed scenario vastly far from that cooing baby wrapped tightly in your arms, but they will always be.
After we giggled for a few more minutes, I put Little Man back into his bed. He gave me a quick kiss, told me he loved me, and said goodnight. I said I loved him, too, and goodnight as well.
But what I really should have been saying was,