Sawyer has this sing-song-y way he says “love you” that is so sweet I can hear it in my mind as I type. He strings out the “you” at the end while he looks at you like you are the greatest being on his planet. Sometimes he says it over and over before bed because he’s so sleepy he has forgotten he already told me and he just wants to make sure.
Last night I said “love you” back and tried to mimic his sing-song-i-ness and he rolled over to tell me, “Love you is only two words, Mommy. It’s so fast Mommy that when you say it, it’s almost over.” And then he fell asleep because that was all he needed.
I laid there, trying to stay awake in that way I always fail at doing only to wake up five hours later with a foot across my forehead, and thought about how simple loving my kids is compared to how hard I make it sometimes.
I get caught up in all of what mothering should be and forget about how easy simply loving is.
I read about helicopter parents and attached parents and the free range ones and overanalyzing which one I’m being or failing at being instead of just being, wherever we are right at that moment.
I surf Pinterest and create projects that cave in when I could just sit down and open a coloring book with the kids, crayons rolling across the table.
I make food with hidden healthy ingredients and let out big sighs as the theatrical gags begin instead of just making peanut butter sandwiches and helping them peel their own apple.
I come up with birthday themes and swear at the printer while it jams or runs out of ink or both when everyone would be perfectly happy with a day in the sun and seconds on ice cream.
I search for age appropriate everything and books to challenge reading levels because sometimes I forget to sit still for a minute, look them in the eye and ask them what they like most.
As adults, we rush all the things our kids take slowly, their every footstep making our watch tick slower. But where do we really need to go? What’s more important than one second of looking that kiddo in the sweet dimples and connecting for a second? Reminding ourselves how neat they really are and how stinking cute they were that one day on the way to the car even though they were taking inch-long steps that weren’t always going forward.
There are so many little ways we can hand our kids love and they have nothing to do with the big things that cause our money and patience to bleed. I’ve tried to slow down lately and the funniest thing has happened. We haven’t been late for anything. And I think it’s because I’m really looking instead of glazing over it all. I scan the house for my purse and my keys and actually remember I’m hanging onto them and then pick up my youngest and really talk to him instead of talking at him about his coat and omg the other shoe that’s gone again.
I’ve dug deep for extra patience and kind words and I’ve heard them bounce from one sibling to the next and back to me again and it’s so much more satisfying than a zucchini for dinner or a craft that doesn’t implode.
Because sweet bedtime talks only last for a few years and “love you” is only two words…
As soon as we say it it’s almost over.
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