Parenthood is full of passing moments. Even though we desperately try to remember every fleeting precious memory, it just doesn’t happen. Blame the lack of energy, the gray hair, the mom brain, but unless you journal pretty regularly, the reality of the present is sometimes forgotten. However, there are those moments that stop you in your tracks. The moments that give you a wider glimpse into the world through your child’s eyes. Moments that bring you to the edge of your heart exploding right out of your chest.
My most recent near-heart explosion happened a few weeks ago on Christmas. No, it wasn’t the mad dash to see what gifts were under the tree that morning or the high-pitched, off-key singing next to me at church before lunch. It was late at night after the baths were drained and jammies were buttoned, and I was daydreaming about finishing Love Actually on the couch with the leftover Santa cookies all by myself.
I, along with every other parent in the world, was SPENT. My husband and I agreed that since it was Christmas night, my oldest could stay up past his bedtime and play with his new toys in his room. My husband even set up this incredible scene for him with his mini Gotham city displayed, nerf guns loaded, and superhero figures all lined up by his bed. My son’s eyes lit up — until this morning, these toys only existed in his letters to Santa, which he talked about ALL.THE.TIME. As I kissed him goodnight, he looked up and I knew it was coming as he asked, “Wanna snuggle?”
In normal day-to-day life, laying and talking with my son at the end of a long day is the sweetest time. But on Christmas night when every bit of me ached, I just couldn’t do it. So instead, I gave him a choice that I knew would get me out of saying no.
“Well bud, how about you pick? You can either play with your toys past your bedtime and we can snuggle tomorrow OR we can snuggle now and you’ll go to bed right after.”
He sat down on his bed, looked around the room at his toys, and then said something that will probably stick with me for a long time.
“I choose this,” as he pointed down, touching his mattress.
Relieved, I explained that sounded good and he could play with his toys in his bed or on the ground–wherever he wanted and we’d be sure and snuggle extra long tomorrow.
“No Mom. I choose you.”
Oh, my heart. I’m sure it physically twisted inside my chest. I did not realize this was the decision his little mind was making. New toys or time with Mom? His response only took a couple seconds. I can’t even begin to imagine a scenario where I would choose time with someone over indulging in a new thing that I’ve been waiting MONTHS to receive.
In that instant, I choked back tears, smiled, and hopped into a little twin bed with my favorite 4-year-old.
Netflix can wait. Hot baths can wait. The dirty kitchen can wait. “Me time” can wait 10 minutes longer.
I choose you too.