The other night Porter chose a bedtime story that we haven’t read together in a few years. As we read it I kept having these flashbacks to reading it with him when he was two. I could hear his little voice commenting on the pictures and imitating the animal sounds with me, I could feel his small body sitting snugly in my crossed legs, I could see his baby fine blond hair and chubby cheeks in my minds eye. I missed the little toddler that he used to be so much that my heart ached for him. Wasn’t it just yesterday? I looked over at my skinny little boy (who now wears size 5t!) and he felt like an impostor. Where was toddler Porter? What happened to those years in between? My toddler Porter is gone, he will forever exist only in memory. Did I know those moments were special? How fleeting they were?
One of the memories this book brings back, one that it pains me to remember and admit, is of rushing through the book so that we could get on with bedtime. I was eager to put him down, turn out the lights, and walk away. To get on with my own evening. I feel so guilty about this, as if I’ve let down that trusting toddler whose whole world revolved around me. I do the same thing with Wyatt too, who is now the same age as Porter in these memories.
I don’t want to rush through bedtime stories anymore. I want to savour the moments where my little boys warm bodies snuggle up to me, where each interruption and question stretches story time longer, where I can smell their freshly washed hair, where they wiggle so much I almost give up and close the book. I want to savour the snuggles and the everyday moments that will become special as I look back at them years from now.
After story and prayer Porter always wants one of us to lay with him for a few minutes. We talk, tickle, sing, or just lay quietly. Tonight Porter didn’t want me to lay with him. As if to drive home the impression that he’s growing up too fast.
I want to savour the special, fleeting, everyday moments because one day they will no longer be.
Mommy, I don’t need you to lay with me tonight.
Mommy, I don’t want you to read aloud to me anymore.
Mom, I can do this myself.
Mom, stop hugging/ kissing me so much.
Mom, I want to spend more time with friends and less with you.
Mom, I’m moving away to start my own life.
I don’t want the same feeling of regret that I was too rushed to enjoy the little moments when I look back at my boys’ childhood. So I’m making myself a promise: no more rushing through bedtime stories.