This week has been one of the more difficult weeks for me, parenting-wise. Having to enforce rules and correct behavior every few minutes was draining me. So once Thursday rolled around, I put the kids in bed and settled in for my only real TV night of the week. I watch Community, Parks & Recreation, Mary Mary‘s reality show, then Scandal. I decided to snuggle up to my husband in his man cave in the basement and watch my shows on his big screen.
After a little while, I was uncomfortable on the couch so I decided to go up the kitchen to get a snack. As soon as my foot hit the top step, I could hear my daughter crying hysterically in her room. I race up the stairs and hurry to see what’s wrong.
When I get to her room she’s laying in bed, face red and puffy and she’s at that point of crying where there are no words, just weird sounds. I rub her back. “What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“I…wanted…a…hug,” she said between sobs. “I called for you, but you didn’t come!”
“Well, sweetie, did you come downstairs to find me?”
She nodded. “I did, but when I came down to the living room, it was dark and I didn’t see you. I thought you left.”
“You thought I left?”
“Yeah, I didn’t know where you and Daddy could have gone. I thought you left us.”
My heart sank. This little one thought we got up and bounced in the middle of the night?
Seeing her break down like that, to see how scared she was at the thought of being alone made me see her in a whole new light. The whole week, I had been fussing at them more than usual for not listening, being on the iPad too much, eating up all the food, etc. I felt like they were becoming “big kids” and not the little obedient babies I had grown accustomed to.
But she was still terrified of the thought of not being able to find me. She still needed me for everything that matters. I hugged her and rocked her for a bit and told her it was okay, that Mommy and Daddy would never just get up and leave like that. She squeezed me like she thought she’d never see me again.
It was a great reminder for me to see that she’s still my baby. Even if she can read, pack her own lunch, and get herself dressed, she still needs that reassurance that I’m here. I’m with her. It was humbling and served as a great reminder of how much power we carry in our children’s lives. Even when they’re growing up. Even when they’re fussing and getting on our last nerves. We matter, oh so much. While your children might not come up to you and hug you and tell you how much they appreciate every little thing you do, you matter. Don’t ever take your role as their mother for granted. I know I won’t.