The other night, Quinn went to bed as usual, following the normal bath-book-prayers routine. I think David was on Quinn duty this time, while I read to Saoirse in her room. But 10 minutes after lights went out and doors were closed over, I heard the creak of the crib.
I waited for it.
“I wantchu, Mummy!”
“MUMmy, I waaaaantchu.”
And into her room I went. Quinn was standing at the corner of her crib, closest to the door, her stuffed husky under one arm. She didn’t make a sound, but held her free hand out to me. I picked her up, and she silently pointed to the glider in the corner. So we sat down. Quinn, for some reason, likes to rest with her back to my chest, her head against my shoulder, sucking her thumb. But this time, she was tense. I leaned down.
“Do you want to turn around, so I can hug you?”
Without a noise, she turned around on my lap, rose up to her knees, and moved up to a kneeling position, giving me small kisses as she moved, finally propping her chin on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms around her. She didn’t hug me back. One hand still gripped her puppy, the other rested against the edge of the chair. She just kissed my shoulder, and lay still. We sat like that for about twenty minutes before I realized she was asleep. I laid her back in her crib, and that was it.
I write this down to remember it. Because one day she will be grown, and one day she won’t want a hug or another kiss. One day she won’t be content to just curl up against me until the world fades away and she can settle into peace. And that’s my job: to send her away, to let her go, to make her strong enough to take on her life with all the power she can muster. But right now, it’s also my job to wrap my arms around her when she needs it, to sit with her in the dark, to feel her little body relaxing against me and breathe in the scent of her hair and make sure that when she drops that stuffed puppy I’m there to pick it up.
I write it down to remember.