zienne fell asleep on her own, while next to me, tonight. I realized that she was a little quieter than usual, so I looked beside me and realized that she was falling asleep. I quickly lied down next to her so I could spend the remaining moments of her day nestled close to her. She smiled, put her little hands on my cheeks, looked at me and fell asleep.
At that moment, with one hand still on my cheek, I admitted how much grace surrounded me. I honestly thought at that moment how much I didn’t deserve her, or Emma. I wondered how in the world God had entrusted me to be their mom. Not only is it an enormous responsibility, but an enormous blessing.
Emma came into my room and asked me to come see a surprise she had made for me. I followed her into her room, expecting to find some new artwork, but I entered and saw her sitting on her chair close to her bed, with a proud smile beaming on her face. She knew my heart so well, and what a surprise. Two hours before this, I went into her room to get her jammies and found toys everywhere. Two hours after that visit, I was definitely surprised to see her bed made, her toys put away, books put into their place and clothes sorted. I was in total joyous shock, so impressed with her initiative to clean up. My five year old stole my heart away tonight. I tucked her in for bedtime and wanted to tell her everything she meant to me. I think I might have tried, and failed short of getting her to understand. I think only God can see the heart I carry for my children, how humbled I am, how much I want for them.
Zienne wanted to do the prayer tonight, before dinner. Usually, we’ll feed her the lines and she’ll repeat after us, to teach her the importance of thanking God for our food. Tonight, she didn’t want us to lead her. In her own words, for the very first time, she said, "Jesus, thank you. Food. Thank you for Ate, Zi, Tatay, Mama. Amen." I was amazed. My two year old gave thanks for the very things she was thinking about at that time. Today, Zi, you prayed your first prayer all by yourself.
My daughters amaze me. Sometimes, I stare at them when we’re having our "spending time" or even when they’re not looking, and all I think is how amazed that they’re my children. Then I start to think how much I want to stop time so I won’t ever have to try to remember their kiddish voices, their laughter, the way the loved me at 2 and 5. I wouldn’t ever forget how Zienne’s tiny hand feels on my cheek, or the smile on Emma’s face when she tries to capture my heart.
This weekend, something woke me up to the realization that time goes by so fast and I have to submit to its effects. I try so hard to own up and have peace and trust, but I have to admit that when life hits you in the face, it’s like a pop test of all the things you’ve learned in the past. I hope one day, I will be able to talk to my children about how to handle life’s devastations. It’s still something I am learning. But while I can still protect them, I really take quality time with my children, and build memories with them. One of my biggest fear is that I won’t remember.
But the biggest tragedy is if they won’t remember me.