“Do you know why I never say no to our daughter asking to be carried up the stairs?” my husband said to me one night. We have a 5-year-old daughter. She’s the youngest of three. She’s fully capable of walking up the stairs, but almost on cue after movie nights, she says, “Daddy will you carry me up the stairs?” My husband says yes and up the two flights they go to get ready for bed.
It’s late at night, and I hurry my two older kiddos up the stairs. We’re all tired and this process is sometimes the hardest of the day. Brushing teeth, practicing reading, and getting all ready for bed while two parents are fatigued from a day of work and parenting. My daughter knows I typically won’t carry her up the stairs unless she’s fallen asleep. She’s five. She’s capable. She’s heavy. My husband never says no though.
My daughter started to pretend to fall asleep in the car and in our basement after she realized I’d carry her up this year. Sometimes I humor her and sometimes I make her walk. This is dependent on the day. I had not given much thought to it until my husband said these words to me, “Do you know why I never say no to our daughter asking to be carried up the stairs?” I responded with no and thought it was due to getting all of our kids tucked in bed quickly so we can get a moment of peace. His response has touched me deeply.
He simply replied, “Because one day she won’t ask me to.”
I crumbled. It was true. One day she won’t ask to be carried, one day she won’t want to be carried, one day she’ll decide that a parent carrying her is not preferred. The thought that one day she’ll stop asking us to help her was paralyzing for a moment.
My older kids have stopped asking us to carry them. They have stopped asking us to hold their hands on walks. They disappear for hours on end in their rooms doing their own independent projects. My older kids no longer feel the need to play with their toys next to me all the time. My daughter still does. My daughter still wants her hand held.
On nights when she asks for one more book and I so desperately want some quiet time with my husband, I won’t say no. When she asks me to sit with her on the floor and play house when our own house needs a cleaning, I won’t say no. When her little voice asks to cuddle up on my lap and dinner needs to be made, I won’t say no.
I’ll say yes as one day she’ll stop asking, and we don’t know when that day will be.