The last few days I've found myself counting down the minutes until your bedtime. Not because I want you to go to sleep, but because our bedtime routine has become so sincere and sweet and in those moments I remember just how lucky I am to be your mother.
After your practical routine of a diaper change, vitamins, jammies and brushing your teeth, I lift you up and we go about the apartment looking for people in all the rooms. I really have no idea how or why this started, but you insist we do this each night. Then I place you on your daddy's lap while he sits in the rocker and I get to your level to tell you I love you and thank you for another great day together. I ask for a kiss and you always oblige- and always lean up to make sure daddy gets one, too. When I tell you I love you you look me straight in the eyes and tap my nose- the way we taught you to sign "I love you". I then get up and leave the room, closing the door behind me.
Traditionally you've called out for me, "Mama!", and I quickly open the door and make a funny face or noise and we do this a few times before you lose interest and are ready for daddy to read you your book. Lately, though, you've wanted me to come back into the room and sit with you so we can have a few beautiful moments together. You're getting some new teeth so you'll smile, point with both hands to your cheeks and say "teeth!" with great pride. I get really excited and tell you how beautiful your little teeth are and tell you you're doing such a good job growing and building your little body. Then you look at me, so rare are the moments when you're truly still enough to give your full attention to someone, and we stare at each other in silence as you rub your hands along my shoulders and pat my back. You look at my eyes, then my lips, back and forth, before initiating a good night kiss. You gently hold my face in your little warm hands and I feel your little finger go tap, tap, tap on my nose. I try to hold it together and revel in your sweetness before once more getting up, saying goodnight and closing the door behind me.
I stand in the hall way, waiting. "Mama!" I can't help it. I go back in and we do it again.
I love you, sweetheart.