Night after night she woke me from a deep sleep. Softly she called “Mama? Mama?” until she got my attention. I groggily trudged to her room while longing to crawl back into bed. As I entered she smiled. Her smile was filled with love, light and happiness. It was irresistible. It was infections. Even at 4am.. As I held her tight in darkness I learned the power of a simple smile.
This is one of the lessons I learned since my kids started arriving on the scene. Some of the most important lessons they’ve taught me have come through our most intense moments together.
When Marlee started being more independent I started to calculate all the efficiency gains. We could sleep later. Get out of the house faster. Independence equaled all sorts of time-saving territory.
Each morning and evening I barked out orders to maintain maximum efficiency. “Upstairs. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Brush hair…”
Day after day Marlee begged me to help her. Day after day I refused. One day as she verged on a temper tantrum she used different words. Instead of asking me to help her she yelled “Why can’t you just be with me while I get dressed?!?!” Her words lingered in the air. They stung. All this time she was asking me to simply be with her. She didn’t want my help. She wanted my company.