Good night dolls, Good night Charlotte

I stand at the edge of the door, hand poised to switch the light off, only minutes away from being able to rest. The days are full and by this time at night, minutes away from freedom, I can feel the comfort of our couch and the chance to sit in silence. “It’s time for bed, lay down now, Charlotte.”   

Oblivious to my hurry, Charlotte takes her time, “I’m not done yet, Mama.” In the center of her room a square green carpet covers the wooden floor. You can barely see the green buried beneath her books, blankets, and stuffed animals. 

Charlotte gently lifts her Elsa baby doll to her lips for a kiss before placing her on her sleeping bag and covering her so you can just see the doll’s head peeking out from the covers. Next to Elsa she lays her pink giraffe, two friends keeping each other company. Charlotte bends down to fluff the blankets covering them and offers one more kiss. 

I’ve stopped rushing her now so I can marvel at the care she’s giving to her toys. In this room, at this moment, there’s nowhere else to be. I suddenly forget what I planned to do when the kids were asleep and my desire for rest fades. My daughter’s actions remind me what it means to care for those things we love.

There always seems to be a to-do list running through my head. The things that need to get done for the house, for food, for the kids, for my writing, and all those things I’d like to do for just me. In the midst of one activity, I’m thinking of what is to come next. But it’s precisely my children, the ones I’m with at the moment, who remind me to stay present. Focused. Our children do that to us over and over again - remind us how to care for one another.

Charlotte finally hops into bed satisfied that Elsa and her giraffe are comfortable. Covering herself with blankets I see her take one final look at her toys before she turns to me, “Tuck me in, Mama.”

I walk to her bed, lean in and kiss her, just as she did to her toys, and give thanks for the small moments of wonder and learning; being reminded of the importance to take time for the ones we love.