I failed as a parent Monday night. I tucked the girls in, read our devotional, prayed and then told them to go to sleep. School was starting in two days and they needed to be rested. Emma leaned over as I was moving away and asked for me to lay with her. While I have said yes many times in the past, I said no. Then she leaned over with begging wide-eyes and said Please. I won’t always want you to lay with me. And I looked at her and said no again. I told her I’d lay with her tomorrow and get to sleep and walked out of the room. I had that nagging, dark reminder from anyone who’s ever lost anyone, you might not have tomorrow. But I left anyway.
God was gracious and gave me Tuesday night and you can bet your bottom dollar I laid with both of my girls. We talked about their teachers and their classrooms and who they were excited to see on the first day of school the next day. I gave them all the reminders about school…to obey their teachers, talk to someone new, don’t talk when the teacher is talking, treat others like you want treated, etc.
The conversation seemed to drift towards Lexi and a friend she’s not too excited about having in her class. She likes her ok but she’s mean to her and so she has a tendency to be mean back. But we went over loving our enemies. Emma really got into it and made Lexi roleplay. We stressed saying or doing something nice even when she says mean things first. Hilarity ensued as we came up with some silly, funny responses.
We did our devotions and our prayer and I left the room again, remembering how much I loved those few minutes before bed.
I posted yesterday morning about their first day and askied for wisdom from older parents on how to savor the time. I got one tiny response on Twitter.
Of course her advice was on snuggling and bedtime. I planned to once again spend time at bedtime with them.
Yesterday the girls got out of school and they could not talk fast enough about all that had happened. I had to make them take turns on telling me something fun about their day. My favorite part though was not something they learned or ate or had fun with but Lexi’s big win with that little girl.
She was telling me about their discipline system and they can go down (like from green to red in some classes) or they can also go up by the teacher catching them do nice things. Lexi said she got all the way to the top with Outstanding. I was anxious to know what she got caught doing well and it turns out she helped this little girl with her words when no one else would help her.
Much praise and clapping went on in the van. Emma said So our practice last night worked!
I laid with them again last night. And oh, it was so good. We talked and we laughed. I loved being mid-laughter and looking across to catch Emma’s eyes while she’s belly laughing too. It’s the best medicine in the world.
Today I read this post with Chris Spradlin’s #1 Bombdiggity awesome sauce parenting advice of all times: Lay on your daughter’s bed and talk to him. Yes! Yes, yes, yes. It’s so worth the extra few minutes. For me, for them and for others.
And then. Then. I read The Talk by Momastery where she tells her children her only goal for them at school is to learn to be brave and kind to others. And ya’ll, I just cried crocodile tears. Yes. Yes. Yes.
I get it wrong a lot. A lot. I got it wrong Monday night and so many others. We all do. All of us parents are selfish and impatient and angry a lot. But this week I was reminded once again to lay myself down (literally and figuratively) and to say yes and that those few minutes before sleep are the most precious of the day. Maybe you needed a reminder too?