Do you know my favorite time of day? Cuddle time with my kiddos. Yep, that’s right. I live for that time when my kids slow down, the day slows down, and I get to hold their little bodies for a moment. Maybe we watch a movie, maybe we read a book, or maybe we just talk; but, for a few minutes, my child is on my lap. And, in that moment, my child is all the past memories, present experiences, and future hopes I have all rolled up at once.
Sometimes you have to take a minute and not fight the battles. Sometimes you have to savor the peace that can come from one-on-one time. Sometimes, the biggest battles are the battles we fight for the hearts of our children.
I hold my oldest in my lap and can see back to when she was just a baby, teaching me how to be a mommy. I hold her hand, and realize it’s not that much smaller than mine. She’s starting to grow into her adolescent self, and the times she’ll let me cuddle her are going to diminish. Soon, she’ll be going to college, maybe a mission, then marriage. But like the book says “As long as I’m living, my baby she’ll be.”
Holding my next child is like holding love. His heart is so loving and sweet. When I hold him, I can just see him as a Dad, playing with his kids and teaching them to love. At the same time, I remember holding him for the first time and wondering who he would be. I know his hands will be ambassadors for gentleness his whole life.
My next child, the Kindergartner, is like holding pure energy. He was also my smallest baby. Holding him, I am always awash in amazement at how much he’s grown and overcome. He’s starting Kindergarten, and will be off on grand adventures. His hands will do and make so much.
My fourth is still small enough that she fits comfortably in my lap. She’s all girl – in every way. Holding her reminds me of croquet, and sundresses. I see her in her prom dress going to senior prom, holding hands with some boy (not good enough for her, I’ll think). But right now, her hand is still small enough that it fits in the palm of mine.
Finally, there’s my last child. She’s still just a baby. She has tiny hands and feet, but she is always busy and learning. I hold her a lot. So much that I take it for granted, thinking she’ll always be small. I know she’s going to grow and soon I’ll see her hands become as big as my oldest child’s hands. So, with her, I hold on to the smallness – the trusting, experimenting, learning, smallness.
Some of my biggest battles are about the future. Will my children know they are loved? Will they know they are worth more than anything in the world? Will they make the choices that will make them truly happy in life? Hugs and cuddles are my only weapons against messages that can make my children doubt all these things. Hugs and cuddles, listening and time shared together, these are my tools to protect them.
In reality, I have all the same hopes and dreams for all of my children. I hope they all grow and learn a lot. I hope they stay innocent, gentle, kind. I hope they find spouses who will love them for who they are. I hope they chase their dreams and try new experiences. Above all, I hope they know how much I love them. “As long as I’m living, my babies they will be.” If they know all these things, then I will have won the biggest battle anyone in Mommydom ever fights.