Last night she curled up in bed with me and put her cheek against mine, using my face almost like a pillow, because she said she just couldn't get close enough to me. "You're just so cuddly Mama Kitty. I love how cuddly you are."
And I made the choice to just stay right there, listening to her breathing, feeling her body snug against mine.
She should have been sleeping. Her bed time was 90 minutes before this moment. She's in a phase of not wanting to go to bed. Each night she tries on various techniques all with the purpose of spending more time with us. Writing it out like that, it sounds so sweet. But it has been intense. And I keep trying on different ways to be a parent. And some nights I feel my patience and Jon's thin as we crave even just five minutes to ask each other "How are you?" and have the space to answer with adult words.
Last night, as I made that choice to just hold her closer as we were then nose to nose, our heads sharing a pillow, I said, "You can stay until Daddy comes to bed. Then you have to go sleep in your bed." I made the choice knowing tonight she will more than likely try to say she must cuddle with me or she won't be able to sleep and how the list of three-year-old excuses will go on.
But I did it anyway.
Looking into her blue eyes. Watching the way they slowly began to close even though she insisted she wasn't tired. Feeling her arms come around my neck as she kept saying, "I just love how cuddly you are Mama." Soaking it up because she is usually on the move and so rarely wants to cuddle. Letting myself be right there, imprinting it inside me so the me of 15 years from now will be able to unpack it and hold it close on the days I'll most need it.
I've found that often just being right here is the best parenting move I've got.
(And no, that photo isn't connected to the story in this post. It is from a few weeks ago when we made another choice to just be right here and soak up a day without rain even though it was cold and there were lots of orders for me to work on and a house to clean before visitors and things on the to-do list. But this moment was such a gift. I so rarely remember to take my big camera with me these days. This photo is to remind me to keep doing it. And to keep getting them outside because we all need it so much.)