In the loud-crazy-wild-fast days with little ones, it’s easy to forget those rare sweet moments. I hope I never do.
It was a quiet, mundane moment at the end of a busy Sunday.
You’d just gotten up from your nap, and your eyes squinted as your lanky 5-year-old body stumbled out of your room. I smiled as my eyes rolled over your wavy locks of strawberry blonde hair, jumbled in all directions until they stopped at each sun-bleached end.
When I saw you, I silently reached for the remote and changed the channel from my reality show on Bravo to Nick Junior. I knew that Paw Patrol would buy me a few moments of quiet sweetness with you, before you fully woke up and the pace jolted to a hundred miles an hour. As it happened everyday, when at some point, that delicious, quiet slice of post-naptime bliss erupts into talking and rough-housing and how-are-trains-made and where-does-Jesus-live and lots of talking and being boys.
All those things are great.
But everyday, for somewhere between 30 seconds and a few minutes, there is none of that. Because, for just the briefest of moments after you wake up, you are there. Quietly loving me and needing me.
Before you remember that you’re a big boy now and you have other things to do.
Some days, I’m sad to say, you walk out of your room to see my back, as I sit at the computer, catching up on bills or finishing up a blog post. Or, I’ll be in the kitchen, and look up to greet you for just a second before I go back to loading the dishwasher or folding laundry or feeding the baby.
But today, my dear boy, I wasn’t distracted when you woke up from your nap.
I was waiting for you.
You walked over to me on the couch, and without a word, nuzzled into my side. I put my arm around you as you pressed your head against the side of my chest.
And even though your fifth birthday was a few days ago, you were so sleepy that you forgot the big boy rules and still had your sweet thumb in your mouth.
I won’t ask you to take it out.
No, sweet child. There will be no correcting right now. I won’t mother you or even speak. Because right now, I know I have just a few minutes until real life kicks in.
And I just want to remember.
I touch my fingertips to your forehead and close my eyes, wondering how it was possible that God created a forehead this soft and smooth and perfect. I can’t get over the silkiness, and so, I keep stroking the same few inches of skin, over and over, marveling in my prayer at how smooth it is. How perfectly devoid of any marks or bumps or wrinkles. It’s like moving my fingers across a warm breeze. There is nothing there, and it feels so perfect.
And I just want to remember.
I keep my hand on your forehead, and look down at your little boy face. You’re directly under my eyes, so all I see are 2 rows of strawberry blonde eyelashes, and straight below them, a pair of porcelain cheeks that are sprinkled with freckle confetti. The view from up here is so beautiful that I’m having a party inside my soul.
I just want to remember.
You yawn, and I straighten, for I know our perfect moment is almost over.
Soon, you’ll want a snack and a toy from your room, and then we’ll be back to the way things usually are. And they are wonderful, my sweet boy, but right now, the moment is just so delicious that I can’t get enough.
And so, my son, I’ll close my eyes and wrap this up.
Soon this perfect moment will be gone, and I need to make sure it’s marked firmly in my memory.
I run my hands through your unruly nap hair, and open my eyes to marvel at those perfect natural highlights from hours of swimming at the beach and playing at the park and pretending you’re Navy SEALs in Grandpa’s pool.
All those fun things that you’ll want to do in about 15 seconds when you register that it’s time to move and do something.
But I’m so thankful. Because when we crash back to real life in a matter of seconds, I’ll have this memory to hold on to. Forever.
Your perfect face, your perfect hair, the perfect warmth of your post-nap skin.
And I promise.
I will remember.