My daughter is only five years old, but she acts like she is fifteen. She loves being with her friends, and she talks about makeup, nails, and earrings nonstop. She loves to do everything by, and for, herself.
She drives me crazy and she lights up my world.
My girl is so independent that sometimes I forget she is so little. So I’m taken aback each night at bedtime when she asks me to cuddle, squeezing my arms closer around herself and holding my hands tight to her little body. I snuggle her until my arms go numb and then I give her a kiss and sneak out of her room.
Last night after I had put her to bed three times and she asked me for one more snuggle, I relented and headed to her room. As we snuggled in her bed, I started rambling on in a sort of silly-sentimental-mom kind of way that I thought would make her giggle a little.
“When you are big will you be friends with me?” I asked her. I couldn't see her face, but she pulled my arms a little tighter so I kept on. “When you are a teenager and have your own car and a bunch of friends will you still hang out with me? Can I still snuggle with you in your bed? And when you go off to college can I have sleepovers at your dorm with you? Can I be one of your best friends?” I thought I was being silly but I must have overdone it because she was suddenly silent, pulling my arms tighter and tighter around her. “Are you okay honey?” I asked. Still no response. “Sweety, did I make you sad?” I turned her around so I could see her face and her little lower trip trembled, her eyes starting to tear up. “Oh, you are so sad! I am sorry!” I said, “Tell me why that made you sad.”
“Because I love you!” she squeaked out with a sob.
“I love you too!” I cried, as we sat in her bed together with tears running down our cheeks in a tight embrace. “I really didn't mean to make you so sad,” I tried to reassure her, saying that I will always be her best friend and we will be together forever. She calmed down quickly and we snuggled some more. Somehow I found myself so surprised by this amazing kid, my sweet strong and incredible daughter who acts like she has it all figured out all the time. I was amazed by her ability to understand that life changes as we grow up, and her pure honesty.
Because I love you. She said it just right. I am dreading the day she no longer wants to snuggle, or tell me about her day, or her clothes, or her friends. Even without thinking about it, I realize I am always on the road to being pushed away and set aside for independence and other things. But I never want to make her sad or to ever hold her back from anything. I want to see her flourish and grow and fly like I know she is bound to do, just as much as I want to keep her close to me. Her bravery and insight now as a five year old paint a future picture full of life and love and endless adventure for her.
So I will continue to snuggle her every single night, twice when she needs it. And I will prepare for the day she packs up her stuff and heads out into the big world like the confident courageous girl she is. And I will be okay, mostly, because now I know that she will always come home.