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.

My heart.

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23 Responses to Connection

  1. mummalove says:

    Beautiful. I lie with my 4yo boy most nights and sometimes feel guilt about his dependency on me to go to bed, etc etc. But I know that I will look back and treasure having that time with him each night. I just need to appreciate it in the now too. Thank you for sharing x

    • Our babes are little for such a short time. I know I only probably only have a few more years of nighttime snuggles with my girl, if I’m lucky. They will be replaced with snuggles of another kind I’m sure, and there is an intimacy of being right next to another person and having him or her bare their soul. I’m savoring these moments while I can and am not at the point of wondering why I was so resistant to them in the beginning 🙂

    • Carolan says:

      Oh, Gwynn…I hope I get to meet you face to face one day. You just wrote about my heart…my daughter…my fear of intimacy for exactly the same reasons you told…wow. Wow…

  2. toliveinspired says:

    Beautiful post, what beautiful moments the two of you have. And your are so right there is more of price we pay for some things then the montary value.

    • Yes, we are blessed to have these moments. The value of these moments I can’t even calculate, it’s great. And definitely worth more than the money I was earning by missing them. 🙂

  3. Flo says:

    So sweet. Being with them while they drift off is so magical. I love that you create such a safe space and time for her to whisper her thoughts to you. Precious gift!

    • It is a magical time. Sometimes I just lie there next to her and watch her sleep. Fills me with such peace and joy, it’s sometimes brings me to tears. So much gratitude for that little girl.

  4. Kym Wilson says:

    Beautiful, what a precious bonding ritual you have discovered. As I read this, I wished that my mum had been able to hold this space for me. It could have changed everything.

    • ❤ ❤ ❤ Kym. I want so much for her that I didn't have. A peaceful loving home being the top of that list. I think the greatest gift she gives me is that I have an opportunity to heal my own hurts and traumas through my relationship with her. It's pretty amazing 🙂

  5. I love that you admitted that you used to hate bedtime (if I can be honest), and the connection piece–so powerful! Sometimes I vacillate with it myself. My son is 3 and doesn’t sleep well (up at 4:30 am), sometimes after a long day I hate it, I hate that I fall asleep and my day ends at 8, or that after all day together it just keeps going. When we are finally settled, I remember how fleeting this time is and how special (and truth is..I need the sleep). The love that reflects the day in that time is palpable. Thanks for sharing this special piece.

    • I think bedtime is just *harder* with younger children. I know when my girl was 3 I still pretty much disliked bedtime – or at least disliked doing it most nights. And she *always* wanted mama to do bedtime. Now that she’s older she enjoys bedtime with Daddy too, and my heart aches a bit when she requests Daddy do bedtime and not me. When they are really little mama is usually the favorite, and you are so right – we never get a moment to ourselves to do something we want (like watch a bloody tv show within a month of it’s original airing ;). And let me just say, this passes, oh so quickly. It’s all so fleeting and temporary and there will be a time that you will ache for that little body begging for mama. My girl is 5.5yo and I’m already having those moments.

      Mamahood can be hard. Someone should have warned me 😉

  6. chessakat says:

    This may be my favorite (so far!) of everything you’ve written – it is soo so good. I know so what you mean about resisting that connection – it can just feel so real and so immediate, and yes, after being told that we’re not good enough for our whole lives can feel so overwhelming. This is so peaceful and lovely, to embrace that connection and accept all the gifts that come along with it. ❤

  7. Gwynn, this is beautiful. I love hearing about the resistance to connection as much as the love of the connection itself. It takes a lot of love and patience and growth to be a mama. I’ve been at it for 15 years and I still have daily tiny epiphanies. Keep up the good love!

  8. cassia says:

    beautiful post. Last night my 5 year old kept calling me back in over and over to “tell me a secret”… some were silly, some were sweet. I enjoyed it and let her have her fun because there was no school today… so glad I did..

    • Gel won’t let us leave the room until she’s asleep. I’m good with that, I love our moments. Soon enough she won’t want us to help her relax into sleep and I’ll miss this moments like mad. 😉

  9. Becky says:

    I absolutely loved how you shared your honesty about how you used to hate bedtime and the fear of connection. I can So relate to that and it really helped me jst hearing someone else say it. This is something I’m working on as well – opening my heart and letting the walls come down. Thank yOu!

  10. H says:

    ❤ love this. I just spent 2 hours in bed laying with my girl, talking, connecting, grieving places and memories of the past, holding & comforting each other, feeling those big scary feelings together. I am so thankful I get to hold her everyday as these moments might not always be here. She had decided for a short while that she didnt need me and was a bit angry at me, causing that connection to hide a bit and I missed her. Bedtime is the best time to connect with my son too. Life would be so empty without our children.

    • I am so grateful every single day for my girl – more so now with all (or at least many) of my health issues uncovered. She is my teacher and I learn from her ever single day. I love our connection. Love. It. I get to heal my own ick while building a beautiful life for her – truly how it’s supposed to work I believe. 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤

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