For the Love of Your Mother

Tonight, I came upon my love of my daughter. She is a night owl, and has been from birth. She biologically wants to stay up until between 10 pm and 2 am, and sleep in until between 8 and 10 am.

As a baby, she stayed up until those late hours every night. As a toddler, she came over to her door and cried to be let out at bedtime until she fell asleep on the floor next to the door. I always felt terrible having to open the door and slide her out of the way to put her back in her bed.

Now she is an early teen, and she has spent the tween years perfecting the art of chatting me up when I come to say goodnight. “Are we doing anything tomorrow?” “So, how was your day?” “Is anything fun happening tomorrow?” “Did you know this really interesting story that takes me forever and a half to tell you, Mother?”  Okay, I’m paraphrasing on that last one, but you get the idea.

I, on the other hand am a morning person. I tire naturally around 8 or 9 pm, and drastically run out of gas at around 10 pm. I wake up without an alarm clock before 7 a.m. quite regularly. Early in the morning I feel bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to face the day.  Exactly the way my daughter seems to feel about 9 pm.

We went to the river the other night, and the kids found tadpoles, and even a frog in that awkward teenage stage who hadn’t lost its tail yet. When we were done and got home after Normal Kid Bedtime, Daughter was ever happy to take a leisurely shower, and do heaven knows what in the bathroom for another hour before I finally went and nagged her into bedtime submission.

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Go to bed child, or you’ll be sleeping with the frogs.

Sometimes I think of our relationship as a sort of tragic romance, or maybe momance, since she and I love each other, but can never find the magical way to be together when we both feel great. Tonight during her excessive bathroom ritual, I started an angry tirade in my mind, as I often do. Imagined angry tirades are a fun  hobby, what can I say? I imagined my lecture to her, Daughter, these are the circumstances under which you are allowed to get out of bed and approach your exhausted mother: 1. Your bedroom is on fire.  2. You are bleeding. 3. You are crying. (At this point I started to realize) 4. You are scared or worried.  You have any problem that a mother might be useful in discussing …

I discovered that my love for my daughter overcomes the multitude of her late night sins. It doesn’t matter what is troubling her, I will be there for her, because she is my daughter. Even if I’m tired and grumpy, I love her and I want to hear what she has to say. What if she didn’t want to talk to me? That would be the worst. So my gratitude today is for these things:

I have a daughter.

She wants to talk to me.

My love for her is so deep that it surprises even my most jaded, tired, 11:00 pm mom self.

Horrible Children

Foofi Bear-1

See those feet sticking out from under the blanket? I’m pretty sure they are about 18″ farther away from the head on the other end than they were yesterday. Today I am grateful for my healthy youngest child. He had a serious illness this winter that also taught me gratitude for modern medicine.

He is our baby, and he is lucky because I figured out mindfulness better by the time I had him. I enjoyed his infancy so much, because I knew what I was doing. He was my fourth practice, and I wasn’t perfect, but I was much better than each previous one.

I think he is going through a growth spurt, because he put himself to bed at about 8 pm yesterday, and fell asleep on the couch today in the late afternoon. For a little while I would get upset at growth spurts, because we think he is our last child. Growth spurts meant the baby falls away even faster into a little, and then a not-so-little boy. Today, I will be grateful just to watch.

I’ll listen to him ask for his “white blue blanket” and enjoy the mystery of not knowing whether he means that the blanket (his favorite) is light blue, or that the blanket is white and blue. Someday he will say all of his L’s properly. Not this day, and for that I’m grateful.

Notice the X wing he and his brothers made. He has to have it next to him always, whether he is napping on the couch, or in his regular bed. At night he rests it in the window sill.

I always jokingly call my children horrible, but what I really mean is that it’s horrible how quickly they disappear from babies to toddlers, to big kids, to teenagers. Soon enough, they’ll be off adulting. It’s absolutely horrible. Still, I’m so grateful for the joy of standing over this child, relishing the stillness of his nap.

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