I had a little extra time putting my daughter to bed tonight. Normally, the littlest goes to bed after she does so I'm always in a hurry to get back to him and prevent the bedtime meltdown. Today time moved differently. Instead of an early morning nap, he held strong through an entire puppet show and lunch with friends, crashing out around 1:30. He was obviously interested in napping around 5 but there's no way I wanted him to sleep until 7 and then not be ready for bed until 10 or 11. So we played hard until 7ish and I had him asleep by 7:30!
For the first time in a while, when my precious daughter asked if I could lay with her for a bit, I could actually say yes. Yes my love, for a little while. Her small arms wrapped around my neck as she snuggled up close. She kissed my nose and closed her eyes. I closed my eyes and after a few blissful moments of peace, in charged my intrusive thoughts, "Is she asleep? I wonder if I can get up?" It took me a second to realize what I was actually thinking was: I'd like to check in with Facebook- someone posted something about a dog... there is that pinterest page on cupcake shaped cakes - maybe I can make one for Gabriel's smash cake at his party, ooh I need to upload photos, if the baby is still asleep maybe I can watch a show while I fold some clothes, did I put the leftovers in the fridge? and that's when it hit me.
WHAT AM I DOING?!
There is no way that in 10 years I'm going to look back and say, "Man I wish I'd paid more attention to what acquaintances and strangers were saying about random things on facebook." Or that I didn't feel like I'd spent enough time admiring other people's ideas on pinterest. What I WILL be thinking is, "How did my beloved baby girl grow up so fast?"
So I took a deep breath, I cleared my mind and I looked at my daughter. She'd rolled over but was still holding my hand. Every few minutes her eyes would flutter open just enough to reassure her that I hadn't snuck away. I laid there and I attempted to memorize everything I possibly could about this wonderful girl that God had sent to me to love. I thought about how I thought she was the most perfect girl I'd ever met and then counted up how many times she'd gotten in trouble just today.
We watch them navigate this world and all our odd social rules. We want to protect them, shield them, but let them experience everything at the same time. At the puppet show this morning they called a few children up onto the stage to participate. I knew Jessica would want to be up there. I hoped they'd choose her. They did not. From at least 20 feet back I could see the tears welling up in her eyes, I braced for her to coming running to me when they didn't choose her. She stood there with her hand raised until it became painfully obvious no one else was getting called. But you know what? She didn't. She sat quietly back down with her friends and watched the rest of the show. At the end she told me she was sad that they didn't choose her, but she didn't dwell on it. She's growing up so fast.
Once, when I was talking to my mother about how quickly Jessica was growing up, she looked at me calmly with her big brown eyes that look the same to me now as they did when I was 10 and said, whilst rocking my newborn son, "and before you know it, she'll be bringing home her babies for you to rock." Message received Mom, message received.
When her eyelids stopped fluttering, her breathing became deep and regular and finally she was still, I kissed her forehead and quietly slipped out of her room. A little more relaxed, a little more peaceful and a whole lot happier than if I'd spent those 15 minutes at the computer.