My six-year-old has gotten into the habit of coming into our bedroom to lie next to me when he wakes up on weekend mornings. He’ll snuggle his little body against mine as he waits for the digital alarm clock to show 7:00—the cue that he can go downstairs. When he came in a few mornings ago, there wasn’t enough room at the edge of the bed for him to climb in next to me. He gently touched my arm and whispered “Make room for me, Mommy.” As I moved closer to the center of the bed, I whispered back, “I will always make room for you.”
Although I don’t exactly enjoy waking up early on the weekends (sleeping in is one of those things I still miss from my pre-kid days), I love this special snuggle time. I know all too soon, he is going to be too old to want to continue this routine. This wasn’t an unusual request—asking me to make room for him. But something in the way he said it took hold in my heart and got me thinking. How many times has he asked me to make room for him in our everyday interactions, and I haven’t come through? More times than I care to admit.
“Mom, can you play a game with me?” (Can you make room for me amongst the dishes, the laundry, and the rest of your to-do list?)
“Mom, please don’t be mad.” (Can you make room for me in your heart right now, even though you are upset with my actions?)
“Mom, can you lay with me for a little bit?” (Can you make room for me in your busy nighttime routine?)
“Mom, did you hear what I just said?” (Can you make room for me in your distracted mind so you can really listen to what I am trying to tell you?)
So often, I let my own busyness push out any room for playing.
So often, I let my anger and impatience squeeze out any room for compassion.
So often, I let my desire for “me time” eliminate any room for extra snuggles at bedtime.
So often, I let the technology in my life distract me from making room for heartfelt listening.
It breaks my heart to think about all those missed opportunities I had to make room for my son, and make him feel important and loved.
We are all busy. We all have to-do lists that are a mile long. We all can become frazzled at the end of a long day. And we all can get upset and impatient when it seems we are just cleaning up the same messes over and over again. But someday, our kiddos will have moved beyond the snuggles, beyond the games of Hungry Hippo, and beyond the little mistakes that are easily fixed. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to look back and regret not making more room for these moments that will not last forever.
Moments when I can show extra compassion and give unexpected hugs.
Moments when I can lay in bed with him for a few extra minutes and watch him drift off to sleep.
Moments when I can delight in his sweet little laugh over a silly game.
Moments when I can show being fully present with him is way more important than checking my e-mail, or folding an extra load of laundry.
Ten years from now, my son will be a teenager, and I imagine he will have his own busy life full of sports practices, activities, friends, homework, and dare I say it, maybe even a girlfriend (gulp). Time spent with his mom will probably not rank high on his priority list. But when I say, “Hey, bud. Can we chat for a few minutes?” I hope in those moments, he will make a little room for me.