I found myself in a struggle the other night between selfish nature and motherly love. It wasn't the first time, but this time struck me differently.
I often find great relief when the kids are all tucked in bed and on their way to slumber, and I can finally use my brain for other things, or just to get to choose what to do or at what pace. Even when I’m not doing something for myself, per se, like making a grocery list or putting together sandwiches for lunches, at least I am doing it while absorbed in my own thoughts and without interruption. Or, even better, while carrying on adult conversation with my husband.
So when that interruption came, I sighed and wondered how long this would take out of my time tonight.
And then came the request: Lucy told John from the top of the stairs that she just wanted to snuggle with mommy.
As hard as it is to give up the few moments each night that I get to myself, and as much as my mind already was recalculating what I could or could not accomplish tonight before I went to bed, I found my way upstairs to her bedroom. She scooted over and made room for me with a sweet smile, and I settled in next to her and rubbed her back and stroked her hair. And then I was overcome with emotion (and admittedly a little guilt) for my selfish thoughts from moments before. I became very sad that I had begrudged this precious time that my daughter requested with me. But my now eight-year-old is growing up. In a few years she probably won’t ask me to come snuggle with her anymore.
Heaven, help me.
I don’t remember what age it was for me, but I have a very clear memory of the first time I told my mom that I would put myself to bed and that she didn’t need to tuck me in. I wonder if she rejoiced or cried. Or maybe a little of both.
That day is coming for Lucy, too. Sometimes, when I am answering the endless bedtime requests, I can hardly wait. And others, like this night, I feel it will be far too soon.
And so I gratefully and lovingly snuggled with my daughter who needs me—who wants me—and quietly mourned the coming day when I no longer hear the voice at the top of the stairs after bedtime. I just pray that I have answered her call often enough that she knows I am always here for her, and she can always ask.