Monday, December 03, 2012

The Little Things





**Hey!  Since our spotlight Friday on Raphael his Angel Tree donations went from $162.00 to $771.00!!  Thank you so much everyone!  I still think we can reach $1,000!  Let's do it!  To donate go here.  

A few weeks ago I sent PSP to bed with the instruction that in the morning, before she came out of her room and turned on the TV, she had better clean her room.  She knows the expectation is there every day, but of course it slides.  She has morning chores as well that she's to attend to each morning.  I feel strongly about giving her these responsibilities and having her complete them each day.  In some ways I can be pretty strict, stern even.  

She groaned.

I insisted.

Then I added the additional threat of privileges being taken away to insure compliance.  A couple hours later, right before I headed to bed inspiration struck....

I like to think I'm a good mom.  I do all the good mom things.  My kids are more than just well taken care of, they're loved and treasured.  I try to respect them as individuals while at the same time ensure they are obedient and respectful in return.  Yet there have been times I've wondered if they really feel my love.  They crave attention and physical contact that sometimes feels bottomless--I have often wondered if I am giving enough and doing enough to fill their love banks.  Anyone who's read The 5 Love Languages knows that everyone receives love differently.  Telling PSP I love her and even special date nights, occasional crafts, nightly reading times, hugs and kisses... sometimes I just don't think it's cutting it.  I've been consciously thinking and praying for ways to show her I love her in a way that will resonate with her.  And in that moment I know that what she needed from a mom who likes order and obedience, was to see that I could give her a break just because I love her.  So armed with only the light of my iphone, I snuck in her room that night and picked it up as quietly as I could.  I then left a note telling her that I cleaned her room for her because I love her.  Signed Mom (the cleaning fairy).

The following morning I found this note.



She was glowing and I could see that she felt my love.  I can't say that I was intentionally trying to be Christlike in my actions, so to speak, I was just trying to find a way to show my daughter I love her.  But as I've continued to reflect on this small exchange I've come to realize that this inspired answer seems to have been more Christlike than I originally thought.  In an effort to satisfy both justice (a clean room) and mercy (letting her not clean her room) there was only one solution--I had to do it for her. Ah...OK then.

But it doesn't stop there.  A couple nights later, as I was laying in bed about to go to sleep I read her note again.  My heart was bursting with love for my little girl.  Even though it had only been a couple hours since I put her to bed I missed her.  So I got out of bed, crept into her room and up the ladder and laid next to her.  Immediately she cuddled into me.  Her hands grabbing mine in her sleepy state.  I looked at those small, but not tiny anymore, hands and thought how quickly this is all going to go by.  Those little hands won't be reaching for mine forever.  She wouldn't always be a bedroom away.  I told her I loved her and was surprised to hear her whisper I love you too with her eyes still closed.

The next morning I asked her if she remembered me coming in that night to cuddle her.  No, she smiled, her eyes widening.  I told her about my little visit and she giggled at the whole idea because she couldn't remember any of it.  Not even grabbing my hands or whispering I love you.  That night before we went to bed my husband found the following note in the hallway slid under her door:



Every night since that first late night snuggle she has been asking for me to come and cuddle her in her sleep.  Sometimes she remembers our middle of the night cuddles, but mostly not.  But every morning she wants to know if I came and every morning I tell her the details of what happened--whether she cuddled me back and responded to my I-love-you's or whether she was sound asleep.  The one or two nights I haven't cuddled her I've been met with a little frowny face in the morning and a promise to come again that night.  It's funny that something she mostly doesn't remember has become so important to her.  The adult in me finds it cute if not somewhat baffling, but the little kid in me gets it.  It's knowing that her mom cares enough to show up, and do something for her even if she doesn't remember.  Especially during the 'off' hours, the dark and lonely sleepy hours when an extra snuggle can feel all the more comforting.  I've been amazed how much this time means to her... and to me.  It's helped to foster a little connection between us--different than our other connections.  For her, it's me showing up and providing love and comfort I know she can feel even if she doesn't remember.  For me, it's time for gratitude and reflection, remembering the peaceful babe she once was and beautiful girl she's becoming.  I also can't help coming back to this universal truth about service and doing good unto others... or even doing bad unto others for that matter.  Regardless of how much we try to restrict the consequences of our actions (again good or evil actions) solely to the intended target, we cannot help but be affected by our actions as well.  In other words, it was impossible to give love and service to my daughter without also feeling the effects of that love and service myself.  The ultimate win win.

By small and simple things are great things brought to pass.  

Nicely played Heavenly Father, nicely played.

31 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:22 AM

    Ahhhh....if only I could go back about 30 years in time.... :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh gosh....I think most of us do or will feel that way about one thing or another. The good news is you've still got time ahead of you. :)

      Delete
  2. I'm a new reader brought over from a pin of one if your craft posts and I just want to say how beautiful this post was. I don't know that we can fully understand the depth of our mother's love for us until we experience that love for our own children. I know as a kid I didn't realize how much my mom loved me but now as a young adult I can go back to those memories and see that love from a whole new perspective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome Christine! I agree...it's hard to grasp as a kid, but eventually we come around don't we?
      Thanks for reading!

      Delete
  3. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I have tears in my eyes. This one of my favorite posts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love! Love! Love! I think you described this pefectly, that we all reciprocate love differently, and what works for one child, may not work for another. Yes, the I love you's and the hugs and kisses aren whatnot are all signs of love, but you have found something that PSP truly appreciates and knows is special for just her. My two year old son in a wiggly worm. He just recently sat to watch a 20 minute cartoon for the first time. He is busy, and high-spirited, and the joy of my life. And although I love his personality and his zest for life, I wondered if we would have snuggle moments like we did when he was a tiny baby. Just recently he has started asking to read his night-time stories in our bed, and after the stories are done, he signs and snuggles into me and we lay there in our sleepy states and just be. I look forward to this moment everday, and maybe he won't always remember or want this, but I will, and I know that in that moment, we felt love. Thank you! Once again, a beautiful post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Emily! Glad you've found some snuggle time with your little.

      Delete
  5. I just want you to know that even though we all thought you were super cool when you were our seminary teacher this right here, is a different, new, better kind of cool.

    p.s. sorry for the days we didn't show up. I still feel super bad about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Samantha--This means a lot to me, coming from you cool NYC teenagers. You were tough nuts to crack! But I adored you and still do. And I'm glad you think this is a better kind of cool...it is. But seriously, you had GREAT seminary attendance compared to me as a kid. :)

      Delete
  6. That is SO precious!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have inpired me with this touching story. I have a few more kiddos than you so I would have to take one little one a night. Doubt my teenagers would appreciate this which is all the more reason to take the opportunity now with the ones who still would appreciate late night cuddles from mom. I have my new blog up for Dawson - www.dawsonmakes9.blogspot.comI don't comment often but check your often. Lamp gives me such hope for Dawson (bilateral upper limb difference wiaitng in China - you encouraged me to take the leap of faith) Jan
    Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan! Thank you so much for your kind words....I'm really excited for you and your family and can't wait to see pictures of you with your new guy. Very excited for this leap of faith. Keep in touch and let me know how things go, email with any questions anytime. I'll be checking your blog as well.

      Hugs!

      Delete
  8. Wow. I needed this- I didn't even know I did, but when I read this post, I realized this is the answer I've been seeking over the last few days and weeks. I really appreciate you putting this experience into words- this is going to bless my little ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Erin--if this is the Erin I think it is, well then I'm humbled... you're a great mom. In fact if this is any of the Erin's I know, you're all great moms...but especially you. :)

      Delete
  9. I just came back to re-read because I love this story so much. The "slepe with me" note melted my heart completely! Every one of PSP's reactions show how much it meant to her to have that special time with you. You nailed it, Mama.

    This reminds me of a book that you have to read with your girls if you haven't already... Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. I cried the first (okay maybe also the second and third) time through.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Migs. Wow. Thank you for sharing. You have opened my eyes into a whole new world of serving my children. Such small acts but such big returns. I love that it is all so simple and yet so amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is a great post. My daughter is still a baby, younger even than Lamp, but the times we take her in our bed and her tiny hand reaching to touch me just to know I am there... it brings so much love to one's heart. And again, I also have this feeling of missing her when she has just fell asleep.

    Hugs from a recent reader of yours from the other side of the globe (Eastern Europe)

    ReplyDelete
  12. My blogger is acting up & for some reason it wouldn't let me comment yesterday. I just wanted to let you know this post was so sweet & exactly what I needed to read yesterday. You are such a great Mother & example. Those two cute girls are lucky ducks to have you around! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Read this after a really long, rough day. It made me smile and soften my heart a little bit. This might be my favorite post you've ever written. I love it! And I love you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Care--that means a lot to me. Love you too.

      Delete
  14. Constant reader.. first time commenter :) I love this post, and it has put lots of thought into my heart. My 9 year old daughter seems to be needing an extra "something" from me, and I haven't been able to put my finger on it. We say our I love you's, make our pinky promises to see each other in the morning.. but a late-night snuggle before I turn in might just be the key I've been looking for her to relax her little mind some more. Think she's too old for it?
    You have a beautiful family, and they are blessed to have you as their momma. Thanks for sharing your world!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Beth--9 years old sounds just right for such snuggling...of course I could be wrong, but give it a shot I say. :)

      Delete
  15. I am crying right now reading this. Wow, what a great thing to do with your sweet girl. I love seeing how you mother your lovelies as we are all on this journey together, figuring it out. Thank you for sharing such special things with us. Sure love and appreciate you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This post was so beautiful and inspiring. It has stirred in me to reach out to my kids like this....thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I actually cried when I read this.

    ReplyDelete
  18. wow.
    thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous1:17 PM

    Wow, powerful. I understand the Atonement a little better now. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  20. So wonderful. The only way to satisfy justice and mercy was to do it. That is lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for sharing!! I love this so much I looked through old posts just to find it again. :)

    ReplyDelete