When 8pm rolls around each night, I am inevitably exhausted and ready to tuck my babies in for the night. Truth be told, I am drained by 6pm and those extra two hours can sometimes be challenging. After prayers are said, I am met by the same request from my 3-year-old: “Mommy, you read me story?” And nearly every night, my response is, “No, baby, not tonight.” I mean, I have done my daily duty as a mom by reading to my kids all through the day, so he doesn’t really need another story, does he?! But why not? Why not tonight? What does it hurt to take an extra five minutes to tuck him in by snuggling and reading a cute story together? I am tired and exhausted, but how much energy does it really take to take a moment to just be with my youngest child?
Psalm 127:3 says “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” As hard as it is to admit, I had to stop thinking of my children like a chore and more like a blessing to be cherished. There will come a day when he won’t ask for snuggles and books, and that day will come all too soon. I am in no rush for that day to come, even with all of the challenges of raising an active toddler. My answers have turned into, “Of course, sweetie! Pick a book for us to read.” This nightly reading time is about more than providing him with the advantages being read aloud to may give him. It has become a special time of extra hugs and kisses to give him the attention this little man thrives on. It has allowed me to see his own passions develop, evident in the types of books he chooses to read with me. It has opened up discussions about his day and his plans for what tomorrow may bring. This special time together each night has helped our bond grow stronger and has helped me find extra joy in parenting toddlers. Raising children can be challenging and wearying, but there are so many special moments in every day life to appreciate. Find those moments, and life itself will feel more enjoyable. Focus on the blessings children bring so when the tiring occasions arise, you will be able to react in love and peace, not frustration and agitation. Say “yes” more to the little, inconsequential requests your babies have and watch their fascination and appreciation bloom in their sparkling eyes. I promise you won’t regret the feeling that glimmer brings to your heart.