I have many titles/roles in my life: wife, sister, daughter, friend, “boss,” employee, etc. etc. One of the most rewarding roles and titles I have is that of simply “Mommy.” There are so many things rolled into that. You are parent, disciplinarian, confidant, friend, protector and so many more things to your children. My role is particularly special, because I am really 2nd Mommy. My girls I love as my own, though I did not birth them and do not see them every single day. But every summer, I get to spend extra time with them, and that is very special to me.
For the past two weeks, our youngest, Miss Lady, has been with us. It’s been hectic: balancing camp drop off and pick up schedules with work and after-work responsibilities; ensuring dinner was ready at a decent hour and creating some semblance of a schedule so things weren’t chaotic in the mornings. Whew, I’m exhausted thinking about it. Even so, this summer was probably one of my favorites with Miss Lady.
About a month or so ago, I started a new bedtime routine with Miss Lady. I would say her prayers with her (well, listen while she said her prayers), tuck her in, and then she and I would just talk for about 10-15 minutes. Nothing major, I always ask the same questions: “What was your favorite part of today? What was your least favorite part of the day? What are you looking forward to tomorrow?” At first, she would answer the questions then I would kiss her goodnight and that would be that. It was a nice way to wind down the day and she would go right off to sleep. It set the stage for a restful night’s sleep. Then, over the past two weeks, something cool happened.
Our bedtime routine evolved from being questions I asked to her asking me bunches of questions and just being a conversation between mother and daughter. Miss Lady started asking about my day, and some of my life experiences. And I began to see the world through her eyes. She wonders what college will be like, and will she be ready for college. She is curious what our house is like when she isn’t there, what kinds of things Daddy and I do when she isn’t there, and is it boring or fun? She cares deeply about family, and whether people are happy or sad, tired or work too hard. She reminds me of me, because when I am working late, she always says “Don’t work too hard, Mommy.” Those are words I’ve spoken many times to both my mom and dad, and I know that they are genuine and heartfelt.
When it was time for Miss Lady to go back to her mom and stepdad, I was a little sad. And on Sunday, when I was leaving for church, I felt like something was missing. I didn’t have to fight to wake her up and get her going, or make sure she’d put on lotion and lip gloss (she is a very girly little girl). And while those things can be draining to any parent, I missed them. I miss that little voice in the house, her huge smile and giant hugs; the joy and laughter that she brings into our home and family.
Parenting is both enjoyable and draining. But there are few things more rewarding than being a parent. I’m thankful for my girls, and for the opportunity to spend some time with my baby girl the past couple of weeks. She turns 8 tomorrow, and it’s a little bittersweet. No more car seat (under VA laws), which means she’s really a big girl now. But she’ll always be my baby girl, and I’ll always be her Mommy. And I am grateful for those special moments we share, when everything slows down, and it’s just the two of us, talking and learning. It is in those moments that I see Miss Lady and the young lady she is growing into, and I am grateful and proud that God blessed me with the privilege of knowing and raising her.