“Hey Mommy, I love you,” says a little voice coming from beside my bed. I smile and say it back, fumbling in the early morning light as I lean over to help my struggling toddler climb into bed with me without whacking me on the head with the armload of books he’s toting. He cozies up into the nook of my shoulder, all the while pronouncing his love for “sweet, snuggly Mommy.” Somedays we’ll snuggle in silence for almost an hour (especially if we fall back asleep!), and other times it’s only for 15 minutes. Sometimes he’ll get bored with me and roll over and perform the same cuddly ritual with his Daddy. But regardless of what changes, the morning routine always begins the same way – with an “I love you.”
I’m not sure what sparked the switch from the old routine of reading and playing in his room until he heard me fixing breakfast, but this newer, highly affectionate start to our day has been going on for at least a month or two. Although it makes getting ready in the mornings a little less efficient, it’s yet another example of how my child reminds me of what’s really important.
Fortunately, C has a very limited understanding of tragedy. No one has told him he’d better not take the people that he loves for granted, because we can’t count on tomorrow. His sweet words don’t have any hint of regretful hindsight that comes from someone who’s had to learn those lessons the hard way. Instead, his innocent little “I love you’s” are simply said because they are true. Just a sweet little boy who loves his Mommy and wants to tell her so – refreshing, isn’t it?
Though relatively simple in meaning, the words “I love you,” can carry a lot of baggage in today’s society. Sometimes they ARE said when they SHOULDN’T be - for selfish, manipulative, or even obligatory reasons. Other times they AREN’T said when they SHOULD be - perhaps left out from short-sightedness, forgetfulness, or even selfishness again. But when I hear my little guy’s pre-dawn greetings every morning, I know those words are genuine, which makes me cherish them all the more.
While my little guy probably assumes that the way things are now are the way they will always be, I know these tender moments will be gone in the blink of an eye. That’s why I’ll gladly give up that extra 15 minutes of sleep, and quickly forget those accidental foot jabs to the belly. We may not be promised tomorrow, but we do have today. We may as well spend it snuggling.
Does your family have any sweet morning/bedtime rituals? Cue the “awwwww’s” and start sharing!