Last night, while I was leaving my son¹s room after tucking him in, I heard the faintest and sweetest little voice.
“Mommy? Please come back?”
When I returned, he asked me if I could sit with him for a while and sing just one more song. He had just taken a bath and his hair was wispy and covering the front of his face. He snuggled in, placed his chin on my lap and turned a little so I could tickle his back while I sang. He’s seven now and I’m not sure how many more years of singing and back-ticking I’ll have. And as tired as I am at the end of the day and as ready as I am for them to
fall asleep, I need to remind myself how important it is to savor these special moments. I know without a doubt that the day will soon come when I will remember these sweet songs with such fondness. These really beautiful little conversations that only happen at the end of a long day when they’re unwinding and feeling that last-minute surge of chattiness right before bed. That night, just because he asked, I returned for one more song and I learned so many wonderful little things. So many sweet details about his day.
For one, his best friend happens to have the same winter hat as he does and for a seven year old, that is a pretty big deal. He also thinks I make a better shepherds pie than the school cafeteria (totally cheering here.) And he made it perfectly clear that he’s not in fact afraid of spiders but simply finds them hideous. His exact words.
I would have missed all of that and more had I rushed that moment. Had I not returned for one more faithful song. He needs me in ways that he may not need his father. To hear the perspective of a woman who loves and adores him. Who might offer words of wisdom or a different outlook or perhaps simply a shoulder to lean on when he just wants to be heard. When he just wants to relay details about his day. Someone who will listen to his plight and help him through it, no matter how big or small it may seem.
My children are young and yet, I still find myself wishing I could go back and have a do-over sometimes. That I had chosen a different tone in the midst of a heated debate or a different approach when there was a learning
I wish I had been more patient.
I wish I had paid more attention.
But then I remind myself that they are STILL young. And that means I have time to pause and reflect and make a conscious choice to be more available. To really be present when I’m engaging with them, even if the day was long and hard and I want more than anything to wind down.
But I know that if I go back for just one more song, I learn so many new things about my children. About their friends and their day and their life. The small details that would have otherwise gone unmentioned. Unnoticed
perhaps. That would have ultimately been forgotten. Our children crave a connection with us just as much as we crave one with them. And sometimes, that need manifests itself at the end of a long day, when you are tired and worn to bits and all your children want, all they really need, is to hear the sound of your brilliantly imperfect singing voice.
World’s Best Egg Salad Sandwich
( makes enough for two hearty sandwiches)
This egg salad doesn’t have any mayo. The creamy texture is derived from a very ripe avocado and it is every bit as delicious as a classic egg salad. Possibly more. No. Definitely more.
3 hard boiled eggs, cooled
1 large, very ripe avocado, mashed with a forksarah (be sure it’s ripe or
else it won’t mush up the way you need it to.)
1 t minced shallot
2 t minced chives
1 t minced parsley
1 t Dijon
2 heaping tablesppons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 t cumin
1Ž2 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
fruity olive oil for drizzling
4 slices toasted bread ( I love thick slabs of buttered multigrain)
sliced tomato and arugula for garnish
Mash up the hard boiled eggs and then add the remainder of the ingredients. Spread on toasted bread and garnish with arugula and tomato. Drizzle olive oil on top and add salt and pepper to taste. Truly amazing.
Nicholetta Bokolas is the author of the food blog Pepper + Paint. She is a wife, mother and lover of all things fresh and local. She believes good food is meant to be shared and loves coming up with unique recipes that feed both the body and the soul. You can follow Pepper and Paint on facebook and twitter.