The other night as my husband and I walked into three different bedrooms to say good night to our little girls, I realized something very important.
In the first bedroom, is a little girl who loves to be read to. The images on the page excite her and the sing-songy voice in which we read lulls her to sleep. She lays down in her bed giggling about toys and kisses and asks to hold our hands when we pray for her. She’s easy to love and adore. The chubby fingers of a toddler and funny ways they pronounce words are some of the purest joys for a parent.
In the second bedroom are two little girls who giggle and jump on beds. Going to bed can be likened to the third world war against their parents because there is just too much fun to be had to go to sleep. They enjoy being read to, but what they really love are stories made up by their parents, where we are usually the star and on some epic childhood adventure that leaves them giggling and screaming for “more!” It’s easy to entertain these giggling girls.
The third bedroom holds a precious girl who is soon to become a young woman. She’s quieter than the others and reads often on her own. She asks deep questions about life and current events. She wants to understand the injustice in the world. She doesn’t ask for much personally, but she still needs it.
My husband was trailing a little behind me the other night after telling another of his epic tales that left the second bedroom screaming for a longer story. I saw him, as he was about to simply say good night to our daughter in the third bedroom and come down the stairs to me. It was one of those moments where you think, “Oh good, we’re all done. Now, we can finally relax for the night.” If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I mean. Just then, I heard a soft voice from the third bedroom say, “Dad, could you tell me a story?”
My heart melted as I stood at the bottom of the steps looking up at him. I hoped he could read my mind, which was screaming, “She’s not always going to ask!”
She’s growing and becoming more private as young ladies often do. But, she still needs stories and laughter with her mom and dad as we lay on her bed. She needs us to hear about the books she’s reading and the thoughts she’s having about her ever-changing self. She needs to be coached through friendships and understanding our difficult world. Sometimes, she just needs a silly bedtime story.
There was a brief hesitation and then I watched him walk in the room and begin another of his animated and hilarious tales. She went to bed laughing about a spy mission in Greece; a story that’s right up her alley. I went to bed with a thankful heart.
Embrace these moments with your children. They aren’t always going to ask.