You know I love you more than anything. You have been my heart since I carried you beneath my own. You are composed of pieces of your daddy and me, and that's most evident when I see the stubborn set of your face. I would give my very life for you...and there are moments when I feel like I have (who am I again?).
But there are a few things I need to share with you to make our living arrangement more peaceful for all of us, especially in the cruel winter when we are trapped inside for days at a time.
1. You may not realize this, but I give you screen time because I need a break. No, I don't want to know how the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles defeated their nemesis or how many questions you answered correctly on American Girl trivia. And while I appreciate your creative work in Mindcraft, I don't want to learn anything about how to make the different types of swords. Throwing a fit when I have to turn off the screens make me second-guess whether giving you screen time is worth the bit of quiet time I get in return.
2. You're bored after our third snow day in the house? What a luxury. I'd be glad to come up with another chore list for you. Don't mind me; I'll be over in the corner enjoying the boredom of staring off into space.
3. I'm so very glad you're enjoying the new "Annie" soundtrack we bought you. But the next time I'm awakened at 6am on a non-school morning to the blaring beats of "It's a hard knock life" accompanied by your stomping and shouting, I may have to take a few hard knocks to your cd player.
4. When the temperatures are in the single digits I will never, not ever, accompany you outside to play football or any other such ridiculousness. That is not my spiritual gift. Continued whining and repeated asking will result in that football being thrown so far into the snowy tundra that it will never be found. Such days are for reading in bed. You have approximately 400 books. Get reading.
5. Don't bother asking for more pets. We have a dog; his name is Max. He would like you to feed and water him since that is your job. When you say you don't feel like it, it doesn't support your case of getting another animal. Yes, I realize that puppies are cute and playful and Max is boring and just likes to lie around. He is family (and has been longer than both of you) and we appreciate his undemanding laziness (and his patience with you two slackers).
But most importantly, no matter how many times I lose my patience and have to make up later (approximately equal to the number of times you slam your doors and come downstairs to interrupt "quiet time" with "Hey Mommy..."), I love you completely. You are worth the sacrifice of my time and sanity. You are not an interruption to my life...you are my life. And when you are peacefully sleeping and all the demands of the day (and the demands of you) are silenced, I can breathe a prayer of gratitude for the gift of two unique creatures, made in the image of us and of God, who remind me each day that it's not all about me.
Someday I'll miss all the noise and needs and demands (or so I'm told, anyway*). I know I will miss the opportunity to be so closely entwined with your developing selves, to see you learn and grow, and be surprised by your individuality. I will miss when you no longer turn to me for comfort or answers, and may even find the quiet more lonely than I anticipate. I already miss all the smaller selves you've been, but I look forward to seeing the unwrapped gift of who you are becoming. So I will work to appreciate the time we have together now, with all of its noise and mess and constant interaction.
I can even smile when I think about it (but mainly because daddy is on his way back home after four days away. Yay! God bless stay at home parents forever and ever. Amen.)
As I read in that insipid book that you loved,
"I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living,
My baby you'll be."
Love you forever,
*P.S. I doubt I will ever miss snow days and the "Annie" soundtrack. But from the smiling pictures of you playing in the snow, and the exuberant dancing to the music, I am happy to assume that you enjoyed them. It is perfectly okay for us to like and appreciate different things. You be you and I'll be me and I'll continue fighting my instinct to remake you in my image.