As the car pulled in, I could see that her light was on. My small girl has this glorious window seat on the second floor of the house that looks out to the world. When we built the house, I could imagine her curled up there and reading, peeking out from behind curtains for friends to arrive or a date to come. But tonight, it was just after 10pm, so I was picturing her snuggled in bed, a book having slipped from her fingers as she fell asleep.
But as I walked in the house, that sweet little Punky was waiting on the stairs, “I waited up for you, Mommy.” It was so late….her bedtime on a school night is 8:30, so she was almost 2 hours late. I wanted to be horrified. (she can be a demon when she doesn’t get the sleep she needs!) But, I have to confess I was giddy.
I am in love with that little girl. And the fact that she was so excited to see me, she kept her little eyes open until she heard the car? Well, it means the world to me. And in a time when I struggle with the internal ‘guilt’ of traveling and being away – even for a job I adore – this reminds me I’m doing something right. I may travel, but we are connected. She knows she is loved. And she loves me. She trusts me enough to know I won’t be mad at her for breaking the bedtime rules.
Getting a little sweet time with her is worth it. We sat on the steps. We snuggled. She whispered to me all about her day. She asked about mine and finished with, “Mommy, I know you always do a good job.” And I melted into a big pool of weepy motherhood. She asked me to tuck her in, “I want to hold your hand”, and walked me up the stairs.
It doesn’t seem like much, this breaking of the rules, but in my world, it is special. She is special. I know there will be a day when my comings and goings will pass by unnoticed. She’ll sleep through my arrival, forget to ask how my day went and hesitate when I ask about hers.
Until then, I’m a rule breaker. And I believe that is a good thing.