Sunday, March 30, 2008

Not Leaving


My body's shifting movements alerted her to my imminent departure.

"I want you," she whined.

We already read our three stories. Our three songs were sung.

"I want you," she cried, holding two of my fingers too tightly.

She wrapped her arms around my neck and said again,


"I want you."

Most nights, she goes to sleep easily and by herself but occasionally she begs me to stay close.

Because an endless list of tasks awaits me in the narrow space between her bedtime and mine, I usually don't stay.

"Mommy needs to sleep in her own bed," I offer while thinking impatiently of all the things I have to do first.

Inexplicably, I spent most of my weekend acutely aware of how everything could change at any moment.

It was completely morbid, but it made every interaction seem like a last chance,
a rare gift.

So for the last two days, every time she went to sleep I curled myself around her smallness, breathed in the smell of her hair and sang our lullaby until I recognized the steady cadence of her sleeping body.

"You're patient with her," K said on Sunday evening.

I rolled my eyes in disagreement.


"I don't know..." I said, "I think I'm just have an extra weird case of PMS."

[Oh, the HORMONES!! Am I goin' through... THE CHANGE???]

K looked at me and smiled.

"I'm reading a book called The Book Thief that your mom left here," K said. There's something in it I that made me think of you."

He opened the book to a dog eared page and showed me this:


"***A DEFINITION NOT FOUND***
IN THE DICTIONARY
Not leaving: an act of trust and love,
often deciphered by children"


"Not leaving," he said. "That's you."


48 comments:

Frumpy Luv said...

This is gorgeous. I sure hope the memories that stick are the ones where I stay.

Paige said...

Very sweet.

Meanwhile, I think the definition not found in the dictionary that my little one will associate with me is "plays a mean pretend piano and sings offkey."

Mind you, she often asks me to sing.

And then once I get going she tells me to "stop, stop, stop."

JCK said...

I so often feel that way, too. All the things that I must do between the time I tuck them in and when I go to sleep... Tonight it was, "Stay with me a few minutes, Mommy." Said as if I never do...

Andria said...

Beautiful...

LSM said...

What a wonderful tribute from K!

mamatulip said...

Oh, I love this.

goodfountain said...

I love this sentiment!

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Sweet, sweet.

My littlest one will plead, "Lay down to me mommy." I don't ever want to forget her saying that.

flutter said...

You are one hell of a mom.

Ally said...

K was sweet to acknowledge that.

It is so hard to surrender to the moment at bedtime, to not go crazy trying to get out of the kids' rooms as fast as possible in order to start accomplishing the things on my own list. But when I do manage to just BE and wait a bit with my kids, I feel good.

jess said...

How beautifully sweet. I'm glad K noticed and gave you those words.

btw- read that book when he's finished it. It's hard, hard, hard; but well worth it

CamiKaos said...

that really warms my heart.

meno said...

Oh it's so hard to remember that they will not think of those undone chores when they grow up, only that mommy stayed.

TEOM? said...

Remembering that we are all going to leave someday makes us so much more inclined to stay - and revel in - those extra few minutes.

Kelley said...

I so understand this. Sometimes life gives you a kick in the head as a wake up or you just realise life is speeding up way too fast.

These are the times where I pull my kids close, take in their scent and just be. And not leave.

Lotta said...

I love that definition!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

K always seems to know the right thing to say.

And I loved your post about the kisses in your pocket. I think I'm going to start carrying some around with me too.

Circus Kelli said...

You're awesome.

So many times, I resist the urge to climb into bed with them for a cuddle, only because I'm afraid one or the other of us will make a habit out of it.

That's not right, is it?

notthemama said...

Maybe I have an extra weird case of PMS too. This post had me in tears. Not just tearing up, but honest-to-goodness tears rolling down my cheeks. Beautiful.

Kyla said...

Just lovely.

foop said...

That so totally rawks.

K is the king. :)

Magpie said...

So lovely. And that K, he's got you.

bzybead said...

aaaaaaaaawwwww . . . you are a lucky woman.

Kevin Charnas said...

Right. On.

cce said...

This one hits me in the gut...I often spend the day just riddled with guilt and anxiety about my last words to my children before they go off to school being of the scolding, or tired or fed up variety. I mean, what if that were the last thought they had of their mother if something should happen to me or them? How did I get so crazy. You're post makes me feel normal and right in those feelings. Universal motherhood perhaps?

liv said...

i am going through this same thing with Peep. (coincidence that they are so close in age?) each time she looks at me and suggests that there should be just one more hug, one more song, one more kiss i just melt. life's too short not to take this time.

Denise said...

Mine are now 11 and 8 and I wished I hadn't listened ever to anyone who said "don't stay in the room with your kids" sounded good at the time but now, miss the babies. Stay when they ask, someday they'll stop.

The Laundress~JJ! said...

God, that's good.

I have that really bad case of PMS every day...

I'm so fearful of leaving....

Awesome post, chick.

QT said...

This was touchng on many levels. And K, well - he is so sweet.

Janet said...

Not leaving. I like that.

I crawled into bed with my middle daughter this morning in the hopes that a quick snuggle would get her moving. She looked me in the eyes and said, "I never get any time with you."

It's not true; she does. But it pierced my heart because she is telling me that what I'm giving her is not enough.

Beck said...

I'm a bit choked up now.

Grim Reality Girl said...

Your kids are blessed to have you and K for parents. You are both wonderful -- how cool that he appreciates you and that you take the time for Roo.

nikki said...

Okay, I'm mush now. Very sweet and makes me want to run and give my son a couple extra hugs.

deb said...

That's the definition of my husband. Thanks for reminding me, I needed it.

NotSoSage said...

Oh, I'm feeling the love that abounds in the House of Joy. Even though it's still cold here, it feels very, very warm.

Our Crooked Tree said...

I love this; makes me feel better about my last post. http://ourcrookedtree.blogspot.com/2008/03/threes-crowd.html

Amanda said...

Gooey, I am simply gooey from this.

Molly said...

Those "stay with me, Mommy" nights get me every time. They will be gone before we know it.

carrie said...

This is so, so true.

Beautiful post.

Jenifer said...

That was so, so nice.

Gingers Mom said...

I certainly have days like that too. When the guilt gets a grip on me and I think - will it really hurt to just let her snuggle in the middle for a few minutes?? I think we as moms get too caught up in our own stuff to realize those are the thing our kids will rmember when they are grown.

Denguy said...

Aw-w-w, that's so mushy-gushy.

Ruth Dynamite said...

Yes. Not leaving is more than OK.

Above Average Joe said...

Peanut woke up early this morning. I took her into bed with me and just watched her sleep. That would be the definition of innocence.

Obviously, the definition of leaving would have to be Mrs. Joe.

JamesMommy said...

I read the following passage this morning and it made me think about this post.

"In fact, Three is a highly 'we' age. The child likes to say 'let's' as 'Let's go for a walk, shall we?' The sense of togetherness or 'we-ness'seems to make him depend on the adult and makes him lean on him or her, thought he also enjoys the sense of sharing. The very child who has been so independent earlier may now ask his mother: 'Help me,' 'Show me.'"
--Ames & Ilg in "Your Three-Year Old"

It's nice to think of the we-ness with your little one, isn't it? I found it humbling and sort of embarrassing when I compared it to my recent description of my son as recently becoming "clingy".

radical mama said...

Wow. That is incredibly sweet.

Bobita~ said...

Wow. Not leaving.

This post, quite literally, took. my. breath. away.

Beautiful.

Little Nut Tree said...

omg. that is so sweet. I think my heart skipped a beat.