It was after 9:30 p.m. on a school night.
Mike was at a dinner meeting, my son had just fallen asleep, and I still had a lot to do before the next day.
(We’d been at my daughter’s play practice and had gotten home later than usual.)
“Will you stay in my room for a while?” she asked as I tucked her in.
“Not tonight,” I said, thinking about everything I needed to do. “It’s late, and you need to get to sleep.” I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead.
She reached her arms around my neck and hugged me. “Please?”
I wavered, thinking about the dishes, the laundry, the emails.
“Please?” she asked again.
“All right.” I sighed, giving in. “But just for a minute.”
I sat down on her bed.
She reached out and held my hand.
We didn’t talk much.
She was tired and so was I.
Instead, we listened to the hum of her ceiling fan and the bubbling of her fish tank.
“Goodnight, Mommy,” she said, yawning.
As I sat there, it hit me that she’ll be in sixth grade–in middle school–next year. And I don’t know if she’ll be asking me to stay in her room with her at night much longer.
I wished I hadn’t told her no so quickly.
And I savored the moment, realizing that someday–someday probably too soon–these times together will be memories, and not something we do regularly.
One minute turned into two.
Two into three.
I didn’t want to leave.
I watched her eyes close and listened to the sound of her breathing as she fell asleep.
And I was more thankful than ever for that moment…
the moment I almost missed.