I relish the moments when children remind us of their innocence. We expect so much from them, and I believe in that. However, the moments where the true essence of childhood reveals itself humble me greatly. I find them so inspiring. They ground me as a mother and remind me of my true purpose and my children’s.
A few nights ago I went up to tell M it was time to turn off her light and go to bed. This is the last part of the bedtime routine, and it involves making sure her bed is “right,” turning off the light, turning on the sound machine, and adjusting the blankets. It’s a whole thing. She wasn’t finished with the chapter yet, and I told her that I was not able to stand there and wait for her to finish reading.
She sighed and looked up at me from her book. “Okay,” she said. “Tonight I will be brave and turn off the light all by myself when I finish reading.”
Tonight I will be brave.
I had no idea that turning off the light by herself required bravery. Why would I though? This is the child who puts her younger brothers to bed independently, the child who advocates for harder books in her classroom, the child who speaks up when she notices someone being unkind, the child who continues to flip herself over the bars until she masters a new gymnastics skill. Being brave enough to turn off her own light had never crossed my mind.
Except maybe it should have. Because she’s 7. In that little moment where she opened a window into her childhood, I could peer in long enough to still see my little girl. My sweet, innocent, and brave little girl. Sometimes I lose her in the hustle and bustle of activities, expectations, and independence. But that night I found her again in a quiet moment of being brave.
Those moments as a parent that make your heart ache and soar simultaneously always overwhelm me, and this was no different. I’m grateful for that moment and it’s reminder of the beauty and the grace of childhood.
Find the joy,
Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.