child sleeping

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.

“Goodnight.”

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.

26 Comments on The Moment I Almost Missed

  1. I know exactly how you feel! They definitely don't want to be tucked in, have snugglebuggles, or bedtime stories when they're 23, 17, and 14! I'm like you! I need to make life stop between 8 and 9:30 and just . . . stop and enjoy this little bit of heaven!

  2. I'm wondering why we strive for the so so when we can have the amazing in all God has given us. We become so immune to the amazing, ho hum is what we pursue. Silly, silly, silly.So glad you caught your moment …. I hoping for many, many more.

  3. Oooh, what a wonderful post! Yes, I definitely say no to quickly. My kids are a lot younger though, so I still hold their hands a lot, do the singing and rocking thing. LOL But I love it. I've had them fall asleep while I'm holding their hand and it's really amazing. They're so trusting! So at peace when mommy is there.Thanks for my morning reminder to put them first, esp. in the midst of pre-conference craziness. LOL

  4. This is a tough lesson to learn. Though we can't say "yes" to everything,we can be more sensitive to their needs. I started being more attentive to my 17-year-old recently, and it really paid off when she responded with a better attitude toward me.

  5. What a great life lesson, Genny. Thanks for sharing that reminder of how fast life moves by. I'm sure I have countless moments I missed but can't think of one to share right now.

  6. Lovely post.Though I'm ashamed to admit my first thought was "they still ask you to lay with them in 5th grade? ACK"My daughter (almost 5) and I fell asleep together last night in my bed waiting for daddy to come home from a late meeting. It was rather nice.

  7. Kellie,I know what you mean: sometimes I realize that my kids' attitudes are a reflection of how attentive I'm being–or not.Recovering Procrastinator,Yes-even in 5th grade, but it's good. It's all good. :)Thanks for chiming in and sharing your thoughts, everyone!

  8. Mahoney Musings…you made me cry! Thanks for sharing that beautiful link. It does go by too fast.Babybear Scraps-I love how that post your shared challenges us to "go for it." :)

  9. I am so excited to win the giveaway! I have never won anything in my life. This made my day. And I will be leaving some info in the New Reader's post as well. Blessings to you!

  10. Thanks a lot Genny! You totally have me sobbing here.You just gave me a glimpse of what I want ALL The time…OK! I am walking away from my computer after this comment!You rock.God bless-Amanda

  11. Last week as I dropped my little man off at kindergarten he asked me to play hop scotch before his classroom was open… I was in my work clothes and heels and wanted to say no… then I decided to say yes and didn't worry if I lost my balance or not and it was fun to laugh and smile with him before both of us started our days apart.

  12. What an extremely moving post. My daughter asks me to stay with her almost nightly (after all, she's only 4) and I almost always say no. The nights I do stay with her though are always nights I cherish. I wonder why I don't say yes more often? Thanks for the reminder to slow down and really enjoy these moments while my little ones are still so little.

  13. Thanks for stopping by our blog AND for your post today. I've got a son the same age as your daughter and a daughter 13 months younger and it's tooooo hard to remember in the rush of life to hand on tight to the moments we are given. I appreciate the super reminder.

  14. First of all, your site is beautiful and I'm glad I clicked over from a comment you left earlier this month. Thank you for coming by. Secondly, this was a wonderful post. I say no a lot to my three younger children. I'm a relatively new single parent, at the risk of giving excuses, the stress of the past two years has been overwhelming.I also have an 18-year-old daughter who just went away to college. Thankfully, we have a very close relationship and any of the damage of "NOs" that I made when she was younger were made up between the ages of 10-18. You're right about the missed moments. I hope I get to a point where I will enjoy parenting again and realize the importance of embracing every moment.Wow, sorry for the long post… seems like you brought out a little self reflection in me. Thanks for the post. :)

  15. Genny, this reminded me of Karen Kingsbury's picture book, "Let Me Hold You Longer". It's a reminder to cherish not just our children's "firsts", but their "lasts". If we'd only known that would be the last time they would ask us to pick them up…last time they want a cuddle…last time they ask us to stay in their room and hold their hand, oh how we would cherish that moment even longer.Having a 17 year old son who will be off at University next year, I'm trying to treasure each moment.Blessings,Joy

  16. Tugs at the heart, doesn't it? I'm so glad you got that moment. I think we get so caught up in the day to day things that we forget about the beauty within those day to day things. I'll be more mindful of that beauty!

  17. ughhhh…. stab in the heart! I have been thinking about this so much lately and want to thank you for the reminder to savor these moments. I have also cuaght myself saying, "shh." or "hush" at totally weird times. I want my kids to have the freedom to giggle, sing and play without being hushed for no particular reason!I am so far behind in reading blogs, but have enjoyed getting caught up on yours!

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