“But I want to go, too!” my little Abigail pleaded. “Please!” The desperation in her voice rang throughout the cul-de-sac.
It was almost 8:00 PM, but since the sun’s been lingering till a later hour here in the Pacific Northwest, the older kids were allowed to stay outside and run like wild banshees with their neighborhood friends (at least that’s what it looked like they were doing).
But since, first, Abigail’s just little and needs to go to bed, and, second, it was mostly big boys out there, and finally, like I said, it was no peaceful game of lawn bowling going on, I didn’t think it was a good idea for her to go. I delineated all these reasonable explanations to her…
“But I waaaaaant too!” In her dark moment of anger and sadness, she sprinted up the stairs to her room to continue the wailing (tantrum, perhaps? I think yes).
After five long minutes, she appeared, with a somber yet calm demeanor, in my room where I was sorting laundry. “Put your jammies on, honey.” I told her.
She disappeared to her room, and apparently as she started to dig for jammies she found something. She came running to me holding a teddy bear blanket I had just bought for a friend’s baby shower.
“Is this for me?” A big grin twinkled in her eyes.
“No honey,” I said firmly. “No. That shouldn’t be in your room.” I took it from her hand. “How did it get there?”
My firmness was too much for her. Her big brown eyes peeked up at me—so sad, with a look of helplessness. She didn’t scream or protest her innocence, she just said, “I don’t know,” then slowly slumped toward the door.
“Oh sweetie.” I tugged her back to me, knelt to her level, and looked in her eyes. “I’m sorry. Mommy shouldn’t have been so firm.”
Her chin trembled, just a bit, and a few tears welled in her eyes, then in a quick moment her little body clung to me, her arms tight against my neck. I picked her up, and we sat on the bed, with her snuggled on my lap as she sobbed it out.
She cried for a long time, and then she just stayed cuddled, silently, as I rubbed her back and whispered that I love her and how pretty she is. The thoughts of my duties of laundry, dishes, and toys on the floor fluttered to my mind, but I tossed them away. I won’t let go of her until she let’s go of me.
Finally, after about twenty-five minutes, she leaned back and smiled. “Do you want to see my daughter, Mama? She’s just a baby, but I have a new shirt for her to wear, and you know she lives in my room by my bed. I don’t have a crib for her, so I just use a box ...”
Of everything I did yesterday, working, writing, dishes, talking, cooking, eating ... those twenty-five minutes were my favorite. What could be better than being the one she needed in her heartache, knowing my embrace would comfort, giving my heart and receiving her love? These moments will become less frequent as she grows. I’m grateful for each one.