I took this picture two nights ago while lying in Eleanor’s tiny toddler bed putting her to sleep. Sometimes on the nights I put them to bed, before they doze off, I take some extra time to whisper in their ears and tell them how great they each are.
Before I took this photo, I was telling my daughter how much I love her, how grateful I am that she is my daughter, that she makes me SO happy, that’s she is a good girl and smart and funny, that I wouldn’t want anyone else in the world to replace her, how I wouldn’t change anything about her, and some other stuff I was really feeling I wanted and needed to tell her…then we said a little prayer where I thanked God for her, and I realized she hadn’t whispered anything or moved for a while.
I thought she had fallen asleep, but then I heard her bring her hand up to her face and move it back and forth. I assumed she was trying to get her hair out her face, so I tried to help put her hair behind her ear. When I felt something wet, I got worried and cracked open the window curtain only to see her eyes wet. “Eleanor, are you OK?” No answer. “Eleanor, were you crying?” She nodded. “Were you crying because you were happy or sad?” “Happy,” she whispered back.
I closed the curtain, lay back down, pulled my daughter close, and held her tight until she fell asleep. I quickly snapped this photo because I wanted to remember how I felt sharing my love for her and how she felt hearing me do so.
I was so surprised that she would or could respond this way. She is only 3 and 9 months old. And I’ve been telling her how much I love her, praising important qualities and encouraging her to state affirmations since before she could talk, for probably 2 years at least, knowing that it will affect how she views herself. I do the same with Samson. But I have to think that it hit her deeper this time. We even talked about it a little bit the next morning because I wanted to see how she felt. She smiled…
There are plenty of moments during the day and week when I give them feedback and coaching and do time-outs and do-overs and whatnot so I make a conscious effort to make sure they hear and feel plenty of good things about themselves throughout the day too. These moments are full of love and hugs and kisses and are special. But this was a very extra special moment, so special I thought to keep it to myself. Instead, I hope that writing this down and sharing this will help me remember to always love them and lift them up and that my children are treasures. And hopefully some day they will know that I have always known how great they are.
The photo is just black, but it is one of my favorites.