The everyday life of parents can often feel like drudgery. We do the same thing daily, and some of us feel like we are just spinning our wheels to nowhere. Every day is monotonous: Get up. Get dressed, make breakfast, get the kid(s) ready for school, clean house, try to keep everyone happy, get through the day.
You get the drift.
For me, as a working mother, I search for the things that bring me joy as a parent. Sometimes, it is REALLY, REALLY hard after a long day at work. After dealing with the issues of others all day, I get to come home and split my time evenly between the members of my family. It can be difficult to embrace the joy of motherhood when I often feel like I leave one job to come home to another.
That is, until I discovered my favorite part of the day.
Bedtime has now become my most treasured daily routine, and not for the reasons most mothers would say. I don’t love bedtime because it is finally time to get the “quiet adult time” that I have been craving all day; in fact, it is quite the opposite. It becomes that moment where my son and I get our perfect, quiet alone time TOGETHER, because it is those bedtime moments with my son that have become the moments that I will hold in my heart forever.
I don’t rush the routine. I don’t get home from work typically until 6 pm, so my son stays up till at least 8:30-9 every night. Sometimes I play with him after dinner; sometimes we will watch television. After he takes his bath and is all dressed for bed, my heart begins to swell with happiness because I know what will happen next.
Like clockwork, he will grab a small mountain of books to pile on my big fluffy bed. We start working on that literary mountain, his little body curled up in the crook of my arm while I can bury my nose in the sweet scent of his freshly washed hair. As we cuddle and continue to travel to galaxies far, far away or discover what a mouse does after you give him a cookie, we move down to his room and I tuck him in. It is at that moment that my son utters those precious words I look forward to hearing every night: “lay with me one more minute, mommy.”
Except I lay with him for more than a minute. Every night, we lay for at least 5-10 minutes and I let him run his hands through my hair. We count the stars lighting up his ceiling. We talk about little things like the frogs he caught earlier in the day, how many cicada shells he saw on our backyard tree, or whether or not John and Robbie shared their toys at school. But then, as his soft lids edged with beautiful long lashes began to drift down, he grasps my hand and leans in to give me a kiss and says “I love you, Mommy.”
And, as I grasp his soft, little boy hands that will someday be double to size of mine, I hang on a little bit tighter and hold my kiss on his forehead a little bit longer. Because, before long, he won’t be my little boy anymore, and I want to remember these moments forever.
That’s the moment I live for every day. It’s my favorite part of the day.
And so I will lay there, again, for one more minute, until the tight little grasp of his baby soft hands begins to go slack and his lids begin to droop down with sleep and his breathing becomes light and constant.
And I will kiss his little lips, brush his soft, strawberry blond hair and give him my best “I love you” – because I know he won’t always want me to lay with him, and I dread the day when I won’t be able to have my favorite part of the day anymore.