It's 11pm and I am snuggled under my cozy down comforter, drifting slowly and surely off into the welcome arms of slumber. Suddenly from down the hall, I hear a small voice calling out to me. In that blink of a moment, I pretend not to hear it, wanting instead to enjoy my warm covers and drift off to sleep.
Alas, I hear the voice again, a bit louder now...a bit harder to ignore.
"Mom, can you tuck me in!"
This request from my teenage daughter Melissa elicits mixed emotions. The day has been trying, and I long for sleep. However, I pull myself out of bed and walk down the hall for one very simple reason...my daughter wants me to tuck her in.
That's right. Melissa wants me to tuck her in. Something that rarely happens these days.
I walk into her room and find her lying in bed, troubled, and having a hard time getting to sleep. We talk for what seems like hours....about friends, family, school, boys, work, her youth group, becoming a high school senior, and heading off to college in one year's time. I share my own experiences, empathize with her wide-ranging emotions, and in the process, hopefully impart some insightful words of wisdom.
Bedtime has held that special place as "mommy time" ever since Melissa came into my life. The bonding began in infancy, when our evening routine included a bath, a bottle, and a book. As a toddler, she sat on my lap while I read "Good Night Moon". As an extra special treat, I let her take the book into the crib with her...a source of comfort and, perhaps, a reminder of me.
As my baby's world expanded, night time remained mommy time. There were countless hours playing in the tub with naked Barbie dolls and Disney princesses. And of course, the night time routine would not be complete without mommy reading one book, or two, or even three or four.
As she entered grade school, we started on chapter books....and my cherub usually convinced me to read much more than the promised one chapter a night.
All too soon, Melissa developed the skills to read on her own, but that didn't stop me from spending time by her side before I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight.
Oh how I treasured tucking her in.
And now that my "baby" has turned 18... I still do.
Yes, that sweet little infant is now 18.
She is on the cusp of one of life's fantastic journies...about to start her senior year in high school and schedule college tours. Thanks to her independent spirit, she simply can't wait to graduate, move into a dorm, and experience all of the wonder of life away from home.
Away from me.
Don't get me wrong. I am so thrilled that my shy little girl has grown up into such a strong, passionate, beautiful, and independent young woman.....I just didn't expect it to happen so soon.
In the coming months, she'll celebrate a season of "lasts".
The "last" first day of school.
The "last" chorus concert.
The "last" school show.
The "last" last day of school.
Yes, she will celebrate... but I will mourn. Because for 18 years my daughter has been my world, and I'm not quite sure I know how to let her go.
But I will find a way.
For this is Melissa's time.
Time to shine!
Time to explore!
Time to break free!
And I know, wherever life's journey may take her, mommy is always going to be there to tuck her in.
All she has to do is call!
|To the left is my baby enjoying the carousel at a neighborhood fair. To the right is that same "baby" enjoying the carousel at Philadelphia's Please Touch Museum during the Prom!|
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