Today, I'd simply like to record a small ritual -- a moment that ends every day in our household. Each night when I tuck my younger daughters into bed, I sing a special I Love You song, one that I remember my parents singing to me. And each night, my youngest cups her hands on my face while I sing, and she sings along with me.
We sing this nightly duet, the two of us, her sweet face just inches from my own, her sweet voice offering the daily reminder, "You're my mommy, You're my mommy, and I love you," and those sweet little sticky hands searching my face, touching my hair, and otherwise wheedling into my personal space.
We won't always sing this song to each other. I already see it as I sit on the edge of my ten-year-old's bed each night. She talks about friends and school and life. I listen and ask questions and let her share anything that's on her heart before I brush her hair away from her forehead, give a gentle hug and kiss, and quietly close the door behind me so she can read for another twenty minutes before she turns off her own light.
Same deep love, just a different expression of it.
I now know how quickly these years pass. When my youngest finished preschool yesterday, tears stung my eyes. You can't stop time. You can't keep your baby a baby. You can't forget that your entire job as a parent is to prepare your children to leave you, to prepare them to step into adulthood able to handle themselves with grace and maturity and kindness and faith and competence and good humor.
But today, I simply want to record that before this great leap takes place when my children somehow morph into adults and I'm reflecting back not merely on a decade of parenting, but a lifetime, there once was a daily ritual when I tucked my babies into bed, settled down beside them, and sang from the deepest place in my heart.
And this little one sang back to me.