I was snuggling with my five-year-old daughter before she went to bed the other night, as is our normal routine. She’s got a chiropractic-approved mattress in her bedroom, but for the last couple of months, she’s insisted on sleeping on a double air mattress on her floor. This came about after my brother and his family visited at Thanksgiving; we set up the air mattress for additional sleeping space while they were here and, well, she’s staked her claim and insisted that the air mattress is her preferred sleeping spot. So, there we have it, an expensive mattress sits unused while a cheap air mattress is favoured and cherished. Kids are weird.
But, back to my story. After we read bedtime books, we shut out the lights, and I lay beside her for a snuggle. This is one of my favourite parts of the day; the part where she tells me her thoughts and asks me lots of questions. This is uninterrupted, one-on-one time, the stuff parenting dreams are made of.
“Mom,” she whispered, her sleepy face snug up against mine, “you are the joy of my life.”
My heart filled and my tears welled up. She said it just like that: “you are the joy of my life.” Could there be a more perfect statement? In just seven tiny words, she articulated the feelings I’ve had for years. Joy, yes. Joy of my life, definitely yes.
My eight-year-old son is also still in the snuggle-with-mama stage of life. Last week we walked to school hand in hand, and I marvelled at the little boy who is growing up right before my eyes. “When do you think you’ll be old enough that you don’t want to hold my hand anymore?” I asked him. “Mom,” he said confidently, “I will never be too old to hold your hand.” Oh, my sweet boy, how I hope that’s true.
My husband and I have been talking recently about how we’ve found ourselves in the “sweet spot” of parenting as of late. We no longer have the physical challenges of babies and toddlers and we’re not yet into the emotional challenges of tweens and teens. We can take our kids anywhere without worrying about naps and strollers and baby food, and yet they still want to be with us, with the full, unbridled enthusiasm of youth and naivety.
This is very likely our final Christmas with two Santa-believers still intact, and you can be sure I’m going to soak it all in, just like I’ve tried to do throughout their childhood. I’ve heard that “the days are long but the years are short,” and I’ve found that to be true as this parenting train has rolled along, picking up speed as it goes.
Oh yes, you are the joy of my life.