Julianna wakes up every morning and comes to curl up on my lap. She’s groggy and unsure of everything, and seems to require a little snuggle before she can face her day.
My older two used to do this too. Every morning, from the time they were old enough to walk, they’d wake up, realize that I wasn’t there, and come find me. True to form, I’d be on the couch with a book or writing, news on in the background, drinking my coffee. I’d snuggle and rub their backs, ask about their dreams and talk about the day ahead. I remember making room for one or the other, because they’d both do it.
Somewhere along the line, without me noticing it, they stopped. Both kids get up now, and start their stuff. Sam flips on the television or minecraft, grabs himself some cereal (and when he remembers, he’ll turn on the coffee maker for me). Jessie sleeps and sleeps, and gets up only when I wake her (and never on the first try). They don’t wake up independently and come find me anymore.
I don’t remember when it stopped.
They aren’t like normal milestones – I can remember each kids first step, first first word. First day at school, first time doing homework. First time on stage in the school concert, first lunch box, etc. But remembering the last time they needed me to help them climb up the stairs, the last time they asked me to push the swing, the last time I had to button the snap on their jeans… those don’t get any recognition.
I’ve got kids who are outgrowing me faster and faster. Each one, in their own way, they master new things and find new challenges and tackle them independently. And that’s perfect – exactly as it should be. But I still miss it, a little bit. And I’m extra grateful each morning, when my sleepy-eyed little girl, with the long tangle of hair and nightgowns that reach down to her ankles, staggers out of the bedroom and into my arms. Because I don’t know when it’ll be the last time. I know it’s coming, but until then, I’m going to try and treasure every morning.