Menu

Watching you sleep is the exact way I needed to end this tough day

Tears streamed down my face and love filled my heart.

Watching you sleep is the exact way I needed to end this tough day

I laid down in my bed to go to sleep but something urged me to snuggle you close.


You had gone to sleep hours ago, which was something we both needed after a long day. Today wasn’t one of the easy days.

By dinnertime, I was counting down the hours left until bed. I waited for just a little time to myself since my day had been spent trying to help you manage oversized emotions. Sometimes managing your emotions isn’t easy because I naturally take them on as my own.

I was tired physically and emotionally.

I couldn’t fight the urge, so while you slept, I crept into your starlit room. I laid down beside you in your red car bed and cuddled your delicate and thin body.

FEATURED VIDEO

The last of your baby fat disappeared months ago and a lanky frame replaced it. I admired your beautiful and innocent face and in that moment the rest of the world disappeared.

I noticed your long eyelashes below your gently fluttering eyelids. I stroked your soft cheek and ran my fingers through your full, chamomile-scented hair.

I listened to your soft snore and watched your little chest rise and fall as you breathed. I interlaced my longer fingers between your tiny fingers and kissed your sweet hand. Though your baby hands had grown, they were still ever-so-small.

And there, I cried.

Tears streamed down my face and love filled my heart.

I cried because the magnitude of my love for you was stronger than my heart could bear. Because I saw such innocence in your face and was overcome by your angelic little soul.

I cried because I could see the newborn baby you once were in your preschool boy face. Because I remembered that amazing moment you were born screaming, and how when you were tossed onto my chest you looked into my eyes and grew silent.

I cried because of the recurrent miscarriages I had before you, and because had they of not happened, I wouldn’t have you.

I cried because I didn’t feel worthy of such a beautiful little person. Because you were the boy who made me a mommy.

I cried for the times I lost my patience with you. I realized my emotions at the time were just so trivial now.

I cried for the times your behavior overshadowed seeing the sweet little nature of you. Your meltdowns signified that you needed my guidance and reassurance.

I cried because you deserve the best mommy in the entire world and I’m just a human one. Though some days I am a super mommy, for the most part I am just an over-caffeinated good one.

I cried because despite my failures, you love me beyond measure. And, that love is not one that can be taken for granted.

You, every ounce of you there is, is written in my heart. Before you, my heart felt full but really it craved the piece I didn’t know was missing. That piece was you.

And, when you came into my life and into my arms, you gave my life a meaning I had never known before.

Never, ever question my love for you because to me, love is you.

And because of that perfect, beautiful gift, I cry. With wonder, heartache, gratitude and the most profound love I’ll ever know. I cry.

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

Keep reading Show less
Work + Money