Lights go out. Bubbling voices start to calm. Wiggling bodies begin to settle.
It’s the end of the day with the promise of a new one soon to come. As a busy mother, I look forward to bedtime. Not only because it means “me time” is soon to commence (though admittedly, there’s that, too), but mostly because once the bedroom light goes dark, everyone’s voices soften, and … maybe it’s the comfort of bed or the soft warm glow of the nightlight, or maybe it’s because Mommy is calm, and there’s nothing to “do”, nowhere to go, but … once heads hit pillows, little ones start talking. And THAT’S what I really love.
Now, admittedly, if you have young children, you know they tend to talk all the time. Yet, at night, there’s a difference about it — it’s not just chattering about this or that but real TALKING … and I get to listen and cuddle — for as long as I’d like, as long as they allow. It’s the most peaceful time of day.
Sometimes I tell a story. Sometimes they do. Sometimes I sing a song. Sometimes they tell jokes. Sometimes they tell me about their day at school — what someone did or said — and most importantly, how it made them FEEL. Sometimes they tell me about things that scare them, or things they’ve been wondering about. Deep questions I’m often unlikely to know the answers to, but I try to answer anyhow. Regardless of my inability to fully explain the reason for our being here, or where we go when we die, or why we dream, I still treasure these moments of revelation as they give me insight into my children that I don’t really get at any other time of day. I get to know my children better, and they to know me.
It’s so important to keep those lines of communication between yourself & your children open, particularly if you — or your kids — have had a rough day, or a day apart. I know it can be challenging to lie down at the end of a long day with your kids — when you may be thinking of a million and one things you’d like to get done in the limited time you may have between their bedtime and yours. But, there’s nothing so important as connection with your children.
This evening, try taking a bit of time to relax, cuddle, and just listen after you say goodnight, but before you leave the room. Be open to what your kids have to say in the dark — without judgment, without routines and schedules, without places to be or things to do. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you learn about them — and about yourself. Remember it’s fleeting, this time with our kids. Embrace it while you can.