Dear Sweet Melody,
We came home tonight after a very long day for everyone. Grabbed a quick meal through the drive-thru at McDonalds and settled in for the night at home. Romeo was super fussy from only getting one nap today. I put him to bed a few minutes after he finished eating. Jubilee had been emotional all day because Daddy’s traveling this week. I hurt my neck somehow and have been living on ibuprofen all day and you’d spent almost 10 hours at school and musical theater from start to finish. To say we were tired is an understatement.
You, your sister and I settled in to eat our food and watch the Little Mermaid. Jubilee was asleep within the first 20 minutes of the movie. You and I finished it and I carried Jubilee up to bed. After you brushed your teeth and said your prayers, you looked at me with pleading eyes.
“Mama, would you snuggle me for a while? I can relax better when you’re here,” you said timidly. You knew I was tired and likely had stuff to do, but that sweet face was irresistible tonight. I told you I could only stay a minute or two, so we snuggled down under your covers and started to chat a bit. You downloaded about your day, told me some things you’d been frustrated about recently and how you felt about something that had happened the day before. You thanked me for something I’d done yesterday. And as we lay there reconnecting, my urgency to get to my chores, or my Facebook time or my book drained out of me.
I stirred to leave and you wrapped your arm tighter around me.
“Just this once, would you stay until I fall asleep, Mama?”
Maybe it was your use of “Mama,” a nickname you’ve abandoned for over a year now that tugged my heart strings. Or maybe it was the realization that you probably won’t ask me to stay and hold you while you fall sleep for too many more years. But I decided to stay. And as you lay your head on my chest and melted into me, I felt my own tension melt away, too. I stroked your silky soft hair. I sniffed your head like I did when you were a baby. I felt your breaths become more even and the occasional jerk of impending slumber. And I pulled you closer. And I realized how important the connection between us is. And I thought about how perfectly your head still fits on my shoulder, just like it did when you were a sweet fuzzy-headed baby.
Tonight reminded me that I am still your safe place. And what a privilege it is to be that place. So thank you, baby girl, for calling me Mama even though “Mom” is where you’re at these days. Thank you for honoring me by openly sharing your thoughts and feelings about very personal things you don’t share with anyone else. And thank you for the snuggly warm hugs, and for being willing to tell me you need me even after I’ve brushed you away far too often. I’ll try to do better. To listen more. To snuggle more often and to slow down and really be with you when you need me. Because I love you with all that I am. And because you’re worth it.