My husband travels frequently for work. Thankfully, of late it's only been for a night or two at a time. Handling dinner, clean up, baths and bedtime for both boys all by me lonesome usually leaves me frazzled at the very least and bordering on psychotic at worst. More than once, I've actually threatened to take away bedtime stories in a last ditch effort for peace while I am "allowed" to put the baby down and Boy Wonder is left to his own devices downstairs. Seriously? Sacrifice the child's literacy and mess with the sanctity of the bedtime ritual, for what? So that I can feel a little less stressed while my three year old son is asked to be super grown up and be alone, yet again, so I can tend to the baby's needs? It's enough to make me drown in tears of guilt.
Tonight was different, though. Maybe it's because I got most of dinner prepped and cooked well ahead of time so I was a little less edgy. Maybe it's because The Smilus happily slurped down some pureed sweet potatoes so that I could eat my own dinner with more grace than a pig at the trough. Maybe Boy Wonder was just really happy about the Easter egg treat he earned for eating all of his dinner. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because he felt valued and important and heard and LIKED…feelings I'm ashamed to admit he has been shorted of far too often since becoming a big brother.
I thoroughly relished watching him play imaginatively in the tub after soaping him up and rinsing off his perfect little body. I didn't rush his book because I had something I'd rather be doing. I didn't get annoyed when he wanted to read some of the words himself or painstakingly call out the letters to an entire sentence to spell it out, actions that on many nights would have me rushing him along and telling him to stop so we can be done already. I gladly acquiesced to his request for a second song, "a LOOOONG one" and when I was done and he was all tucked in, I nearly fainted with pure love and joy as he stroked my face and arms while chatting away about who would attend his fourth birthday party (over six months away, mind you) and where they might go and when will halloween come again and what will The Smilus dress up as…
As he went on and on until I finally caught his eye with a smile, kissed and hugged him again and said good night, I felt intoxicated by him. A feeling not entirely unlike what it felt like when his father and I first met and fell crazy in love. A feeling I've reserved lately for the baby alone.
And it felt so good to feel so good about him again.
Photo Credit bubbletOes via Deviant Art.