"Ok ma," said Jo as she walked out of my dark room.
Five minutes later Jo crept back into my bed. I checked if she'd brushed her teeth by touching her lips. They were moist but strangely sticky. I took a sniff and went "Ewwww! Jo that was saliva!"
"How did you know it wasn't toothpaste ma? The smell?" She asked in between giggles.
"Yes, and go brush your teeth! N.O.W!" And off she went.
Jo appeared shortly later with a ring of toothpaste around her mouth. "Better now ma?"
"Jo!!!" I jokingly yelled. The lil imp grinned, scampered off again, cleaned up then snuggled back in my bed.
"May I stay just a moment ma? Just a moment? pleeease??"
Just then hubby came in and said rather sternly "Jo, off to bed now! Off now!"
I knew it was gonna happen this night... Jo burst into tears..heart wrenching tears. She was somehow affected by a movie we'd just watched, Courageous, where a father starts to realise the importance of his role only after the death of his daughter in a freak accident.
As she continued crying, I said "Ok Jo, mama will go with you, just tonight, I'll sleep in your bed for a while."
So there I was then, tucked in my girls' bed, Nel on my left, Jo on the right. Nel had been reading, a daily bedtime habit. We switched the lights off, and Jo clinging on to my hands began crying again. "Do you know how much I love you ma? Do you really know how much I love you? Do you know how I really really really love you ma? More than anything else in the world."
As she continued sobbing, Nel decided she'd like to talk to me and began talking about all the things that happened that day. Being mum gives me the ability to split my head in two, one to listen to my sobbing child, and the other to listen to my calm child. On a usual day, I would've shouted "Stop!! Talk one at a time." But not tonight...tonight it was a time to listen.
Thinking back, I used to read so many parenting books before Nel was born, and even after she was born. When Jo came along, I shelved all those books and quit reading, for each child was so different. Nel is calm, yet sometimes nervous and shy, and sometimes so very stubborn. Jo is bold and dramatic, and often clowning around with endless chatter.
I love these bits about them so much, yet sometimes these characteristics drive me nuts, such as the times when I needed Jo to stop clowning around and be serious,(she nearly got kicked out of ballet last month, and that embarrassed me so much), and when I needed her to mince her words, but she chose to be straightforward and offended an adult friend of mine.
Or when I needed Nel to be more excited instead of being so calm coz there were datelines, or when I needed Nel to be more bold like other children were, or for her to comply instead of being stubborn.
Yet, as I lay in bed between my 2 girls that night, I was thankful for Nel's calmness, and touched by Jo's emotional words.
A few moments later, hubby walked in, (to the joy of the girls), and tucked himself in. He fell asleep in less than 5 minutes, something I've always been envious off coz I take forever to fall asleep. So there were four of us in the bed now.
Jo's crying reduced to sobs, and she finally took two huge breaths, the sort that sounds like a cross between hiccups and choking for breath after you're done crying, and with that, she fell asleep.
10 minutes later Nel got up, tip-toed to the door, shut it tight, pulled up the blanky on her daddy and tucked herself in at the edge of the bed so we'd all have more space to sleep. That's my thoughtful Nel.
What a dramatic day it'd been, yet a rare day where emotions were poured out and love reassured. I thanked God and whispered "Thank you God, for my wonderful husband and my beautiful children. Amen."
|Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister. ~Alice Walker|
Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without. ~Jodi Picoult