My four-year-old son asked me to break one of my rules tonight and sleep in his bed. This is something I don't do unless my boys are sick or injured or otherwise need my watchful eye during the night. Mostly because I encourage them to develop security and comfort in their own beds, only coming to mine after a bad dream or when they aren't well. Partly, too, because I've learned the hard way that sleeping in close proximity to my boys means the possibility of having the wind knocked out of me when I get a kick to the rib while I was otherwise happily lost in dreamland.
But, he asked, and for some reason I felt compelled to grant his request. I told him to go to sleep, and I would come in after my school work was done, which I did. I crawled into his bed (which, just so you know, is so delightfully comfortable I'm thinking about trading in my own grown up bed for one of those flimsy looking but surprisingly comfy IKEA mattresses), and about two minutes later he rolled over and without opening his eyes, said to me, "You said you would lay with me tonight."
I grabbed his little hand and was going to answer him, but he was already back asleep. And I thought to myself, "How precious is this?" But I realize I find myself thinking that quite often. On a daily basis, probably. And that is because every moment, every breathing minute we spend with our children, is precious. Even the ones camouflaged in tantrums and tears and rolled eyes. Every moment is one to be appreciated for what it is.
It's either a moment to be treasured; to be stored in our memory so we can look back on it when our children are grown and gone. Those teeny tiny moments that come together to build their character and dynamic individuality and which form bonds between loved ones. Or it's a moment to teach our children something; how to handle their distress when the birthday gifts aren't meant for them, or that we prevent them from eating too much sugar because we love them and don't want to see them with belly aches and we want them to learn about self control and discipline, and that all good things should come in moderation. Or it's a moment for us to stop and learn from them; to see the world from their perspective, to marvel at the little things we take for granted, like a butterfly about to emerge from its chrysalis.
Above is a picture, literally from the viewpoint of a four-year-old, as he sets up a play date with his pet dragon and creates friends from his imagination. Today, take a moment, not to smell the roses, but to bend down and see them from eye level, as a child would do.