The kids were being wild and I was a little stressed. I was trying to get them settled a full hour after bedtime had come and gone. They just wouldn’t settle down. What could I do?
After shuffling my youngest into his bed for the 3rd time, my 8 year old son quietly mumbles from his room “mommy, can I get another kiss?”
Absolutely! I go into his room where he is anxiously waiting for another kiss with a slight smile on his face. I lean in and he grabs me around the neck, waiting for the shower of kisses I often give him on his chubby 8 year old cheeks. I knew what he wanted so I started giving him quick kisses all over his little face.
I told him how much I love him and how he is a wonderful kid. I also told him how much he makes my life better and how lucky I am that God gave him to me to love and raise. I kiss him again, probably a dozen times, and tuck him tightly into his bed. Then he grabs my hand, looks at me with those beautiful carolina blue eyes and says “mommy, I love you so much! Thanks for those kisses – they really are magical!”
My kisses are magical. Ahh, how wonderful. A smile and a tear later I shut the light off and head into the hall when I hear another little voice with the same request, “mommy, can I have a kiss too?”
By the time I make it to her room, her eyes are closed and she has her slight little snore thing going on. Her cheeks so round and red peeked from the top of her worn, ripped and tattered blanket. I lean in and kiss her chubby little 5-year-old cheek and see her dimple shine at me as she lets out a small little grin.
“I love you mommy!”
On my knees next to her bed I looked at her, at every little hair out of place, her ears, her nose, her eyelashes draping over the tops of her cheeks. I brushed the hair off of her forehead and continued to soak in the beauty of my almost 6 year old daughter. Her smell, her breath, the sound of her little snore. All of her was just – perfect.
I kissed her on the forehead and whispered, “I love you princess” and she smiled again. The little peanut was still awake! Then, she says to me “I’ll see you in the mornin’ mommy, and I’ll be good!”
I smiled at her as she opened one eye to peek at me, and she let out the softest and sweetest giggle.
Those are the moments that make the stressful hour-long bedtime worth it. The kisses, the snuggles, the smiles and giggles. The fat little cheeks and the unconditional love that they give.
It all came together at that moment. That one, single, heartwarming moment. I started reading a blog post by another mother yesterday talking about “What Six Looks Like” and I couldn’t even finish it. Tonight, however, I got it. Any parent out there struggling to understand the grief that consumes them over the devastating shooting in Connecticut and why it hurts us so much, the answers are in her words.
Jennifer Rowe Walters, author of the blog “The Real Housewife Of Cleveland County” is so right in every word she has written.
I do know what six looks like. With a daughter on the heels of six and two older boys ages 8 and 15, I’ve lived it enough to know it well. So many parents can relate to what it means to raise a 6 year old little person and that is why we cry so much, and in turn our hearts ache so deeply for the parents and children killed in Connecticut.
It may be a little late, but I am going to be a better mom. I’m going to give the extra kiss, the extra hug, tell them I love them, and cherish every single frustrating moment of parenting with a smile. I am blessed to have every day that I have with them and tonight I was able to see it.
Tonight, I get it.
Goodnight mom photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 19 Dec 2012