When Charlotte was younger, she got in the habit of asking if she could “sit 5 minutes” and rock with me just a little bit longer before bedtime (I blogged about that here). She gradually stopped asking for that time, and while part of me was glad to eliminate one thing from a bedtime routine that seemed to stretch on for hours each night, part of me was also sad because I knew she was growing up and each day she needed me less and less. Don’t get me wrong; she’s still only 6 and will need me for years to come, but the need changes and evolves. And while some days I feel like I’m already living with a sassy teenager, other days I’m reminded of how much of her is still my little girl.
I don’t know quite what started it, but she recently started asking me to snuggle with her before she goes to bed. I think it may have begun when I stayed in bed with her for a few minutes after I tucked her in one night (never start something you’re not prepared to continue!). Regardless, she asks me every night now. I don’t always say yes, but when I do,I tuck her in and clumsily make room for myself in her twin-sized bed, and I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek a million times, and after we play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” to see who loves the other more (that’s a story for another day), we talk. Sometimes she doesn’t have much on her mind, and other days she will let me in on things she’s worried about or sad about or frustrated with, and I will pray with her and reassure her and hopefully leave her feeling happier. I don’t know exactly what it is about our nighttime snuggles that encourage her to open up more than other times, but I’m so glad that she does. I hope that she always knows I’m a safe place for her, and I hope that even when she outgrows snuggling, she won’t outgrow sharing her heart with me. And I know that as long as she keeps asking me to snuggle, I won’t regret saying yes.