Coming back to our beautiful life has been so wonderful. Leaving that sense of lack behind and realizing, deeply in every fiber of my being, how much we have, how blessed my family is – it’s truly leaving me filled with awe at it all.
Before, up until about three weeks ago, we had such beautiful rituals at the beginning and end of days. The middle – well the middle was always a mish-mash of fun chaos and not-fun-chaos, of laughter, tears, arguments, playing, seeing friends or staying home. But the bookend of our days… they were filled with peace (and sometimes chaos), love, and deeply felt joy for each other.
The end of the day involves our bedtime routine. There can be chaos leading up to actually getting snuggled into bed. Our daughter hates brushing her teeth and half the time there is a small battle around this. We always pick up her room together and that can be extremely frustrating depending on how tired I am. She can drag out picking out books and lovies. Then, when she’s ready to settle in, on the nights that I get to “do bedtime” with her, she’ll throw her whole body around her papa and give him a huge hug and kisses. He’ll tuck us both in. I read her her stories. As I’m reading to her we both settle into each other. We find our calm, our peace, our joy. I feel my whole body relax and sense hers do the same. We are separate and one in this time. I close the last book, and set it down on her nightstand, and before I turn off the light, I hold her and listen.
She tells me of her day. Even though typically I spend all day every day with her, although I know what she’s been doing just about every minute, this is the time I get to the learn the deep truths of her experiences. She’ll tell me how during a playdate a friend was mean to her and how much it hurt her. She’ll cry. I’ll listen. Sometimes I offer “wisdom”, but mostly I just try to be there, to let her be heard, to let her feel. Sometimes she’ll tell me how great some part of the day was, like getting to eat the batter off both beaters when we made pumpkin bread or she’ll be full of the sillies and want to tell me jokes and laugh and laugh and laugh. It’s our deep time of connection, and in those moments I know. I know that I am loved, I am appreciated, I am needed.
I know in those moments that my daughter is grateful to have me as her mama. I know she appreciates the little things I may do during the day, that I think go unnoticed. I know how much she loves me and how much I can unintentionally hurt her. I have the beautiful opportunity to repair, to be, to heal.
The irony is there was a time when I hated doing bedtime. If I’m quiet and honest with myself it’s because the deep connection terrified me. It was too real. Too intense. To feel so loved by another person can be overwhelming. It goes against the grain of a lifetime of being told how worthless you are, how you don’t matter.
I’m not sure when it shifted for me, when I started loving bedtime, when I was ready to accept the beautiful gifts my daughter had to offer. It’s been gradual over the last several years. I love getting to do bedtime now and it’s what I missed most the last three weeks when I had to go to bed before her because I was waking up so early to go to work. During that time I only did bedtime twice a week.
Last Friday, my night for bedtime since I didn’t have to work Saturday, my daughter’s deepest sadness was that she missed me.
She said this in the quietest voice. Tears immediately started streaming down my cheeks. I missed her too. I missed our moments so much.
We have them back now.
Sometimes the price of groceries is so much greater than the cash we pay for them.