|Good night you princes of Maine, you kings of New England (from the book The Cider House Rules by John Irving).|
The Help has inspired me to try a new way to say good night to the kids. Not the rushed - get-in-bed so I can run down and have some quiet time kind of good night. Not the FOR THE LAST TIME, YOU DON'T NEED A DRINK OF WATER, NOW GET BACK IN BED kind of tuck in. Not the -THIS IS THE LAST TIME I'M GOING TO SAY GOOD NIGHT kind of tuck in. Nope. This one is different. This one is brilliant. This one is how we all should go to sleep at night. Doing this has brought so much joy to me at the end of a day..it has brought so much happiness to them before they go to sleep after a long day in their tiny world. It brings my husband a smile, it brings us together. It brings me comfort and peace.
I look at each one of them individually and tell them why I am proud of them, why they are special, or give them a compliment. The looks they give me back nearly reduce me to tears of joy, and fills my heart with a sense of accomplishment that is simply indescribable. They've also taken to giving me compliments in return. No matter what kind of shenanigans they pulled during the day, no matter if they listened on the first try or I had to tell them three times to do something, no matter if they had to sit in time out or had the perfect day, this is the great Equalizer. The cherry on the sundae. The perfect tie of the bow. It's a gentle reminder that no matter how good or bad we did the parenting thing today, we did it - and we'll do it again all over tomorrow. I want the last thing these little men to hear is that they are loved for the special creatures that they are.
Tonight, as part of my blog, I recorded on my video cam what they in turn told me.
3 year old: "Mama, you are brave, funny, you make all the stuff good. You are huggy and kissy and are the best player when you play with us. Also mama, you are a good lamp post and I love you."
(I have no idea what being a good lamp post entails...)
4 year old: "It's my turn now, be quiet! (to 3 year old) Mama, you are smart, you stay up later than we do and I don't know why because that's not really fair, you are beautiful and sometimes you give me a time out when I don't listen, but sometimes I don't listen and you DON'T give me a time out. You're nice and you are a good teacher (I sub at his preschool often), and I love when you buy us nice toys. Oh, and mama, I would like you to buy me some more Star Wars Legos, and one more thing you put out the best clothes for us, and I love you). Verbatim.
12 year old: "Mom, you're weird - why are you video taping me right now? Ok, ok, I'll do it. You're weird but you are funny and you are cool and I love you. Can I go back to my Kindle now?"
Sweet dreams, dear friends. Try this with your children. Try it with your spouse. Better yet, look in the mirror and try it with yourself.