“I just want somebody to lay with me,” he said quietly. I paused for a moment, about to give my normal response of “I can’t because” or, “You don't need anyone to lay with you. You’re a big boy”. But instead, I said, “OK. I’ll be right back.”
I went into the other room quickly and grabbed my phone, so I could keep planning the birthday party I’d been interrupted from about 6 times that evening. I climbed up onto the top bunk and wrapped my arm around him. I started to pick up my phone to browse through Amazon and listen to all my distracting thoughts about the impending party. But instead, I turned it face down and stuck it in the blankets next to me. Then, I laid there with him, holding his hand and letting him stroke my arm. I snuggled my sweet six-year-old who I knew, one day, would not want me in his bed, snuggling up next to him.
We talked about his stuffed animals and how we got his white tiger at the zoo on his first birthday. He told me how he wanted to bring it to school for show and tell. Instead of asking him to be quiet and close his eyes because it was very, very late, I listened and talked. Then, I asked him some important questions that had been putting a great weight on my heart.
“How does your heart feel?”
His sweet voice answered, "Good. "
“Do you feel safe?”
“Do you feel loved?”
“Do you feel happy?”
“Do you feel… Important?”
I quieted as my heart rested a little. I snuggled up close to him until he told me he was ready for me to go.
Most nights I go to bed feeling like I failed my children, but that night I went to bed and thought, “I did something right, today.“
Mama, I know it's hard. You didn't get everything checked off your list. You spent too much time distracted by your phone. Your daughter didn't have clean socks for school, so you gave her yesterday's to wear. Dinner was pizza, again. You yelled.
But when you go to bed tonight, try not to keep your focus on all you did wrong. Remember what you did right, today. You woke up before dawn because your son wanted a waffle. You read that book about the puppy four times in a row. You wrote lunchbox notes and made sure everyone was wearing a jacket. You put bubbles in the bathtub. Your daughter had a bad dream and you sung her back to sleep.
What does your little one remember? How does his heart feel? Does she feel loved? Safe? Happy? Remember, Mama, you did something right today.