In February 1994, I learned I would become a Mom. Little did I know that almost 22 years later I would feel the way I do about each of our wonderful daughters. Friday our youngest turned 12. She's solidly in the double digits and well on her way to becoming a productive young adult. My little sharp shooter asked for a "hotel sleepover" with her friends. She doesn't ask for a lot so we worked hard to make it happen! The possibility of having six "tween-agers" caused me to want an extra adult so I turned to our oldest for help. She was excited at the chance to be there for her little sister, spend time getting to know her friends and help me out! The evening was so much fun filled with laughter, crafts, games, movies and of course chocolate! When it came time for the "adults" to turn in for the night, Anna and I shared the king size bed. That is when it hit me....
She's an adult. A real adult. She has an apartment. She has a job. She has a boyfriend. She has a dog. Yet somehow when I look at her with my heart I still see the little girl.
When I finally tumbled into bed, she had already settled in, her breathing was even and steady, she
was nearing sleep. I almost cried. It's been years since I slept in the same bed with my oldest. As I listened to her breathe I was transported back to when she was a toddler.....she and I spent large amounts of time together. I was crazy blessed to be a stay at home mom-we played games, worked puzzles, went for walks, cooked, watched the very first episode of Blues Clues, laughed, and even cried together. During the day Handsome went to class, did homework and then headed to work. Many evenings, he was at work until late, if he wasn't at work then he was at the computer lab writing code for class. At bedtime, I would curl up with Anna in her little twin size bed and we would read-book after book after book after book until she would drift off to sleep. Often Handsome would arrive home and I would be sound asleep in her Winnie the Pooh wonderland.
Anna has always been my hand holder. We have so many pictures of just our hands and still at almost 22, she will grab my hand. The hand holding is a tradition I've continued with the Little's as well. When something is important or "big" we hold hands to share the news, when we're tired or sad we hold hands, when we walk down the street we hold hands. A few months ago when a new family visited our church the family had a teenage daughter as we watched them walk across the parking lot the daughter reached over and grabbed her moms hand and Melissa gasped, "Mom! I can be friends with her, she's holding her moms hand!!!"
I realized the other night there is something intimate and special about listening to your child breathe. Praying over them as they sleep and trusting them to God. It made me think about my Mom and all the prayers I know she has offered over me. During my 20's, 30's and into my 40's when I'd go home for a visit I always looked forward to laying in her bed with the hushed, end of day conversations as we waited for Dad to lock up the house and come to bed. Those were treasured memories, we weren't holding hands, we were holding hearts. I knew we weren't just talking, she was praying for me, for my husband, my kids...my life. I didn't quite comprehend the specialness of those times until I was listening to Anna the other night and I realized that with my parents across the street I no longer have that opportunity with my Mom. I know she still says just as many prayers, we talk every day-usually several times a day but that quiet time is past.
I'm so crazy blessed to have a Mom who taught me the importance of the quiet moments. Savoring every moment together. I'm hugging my kids a little closer these last few days, savoring their unique smells, the feel of their hands in mine, the way their voice sounds, the texture of their hair. I want to remember all those things so when they are grown and these precious moments have passed so I can always hold their hearts when their hands aren't close!
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