From Chicken Soup for the Mother of Preschooler's Soul

Story Time

I thought my mom’s whole purpose was to be my mom. That’s how she made me feel.

Natasha Gregson Wagner

Although my husband usually reads the bedtime story while I clean up dinner, when he’s out of town the responsibility falls to me. Not that I don’t embrace every waking moment with my children . . . oh, no, not at all.

Okay, let’s get real. Some days are easier than others to appreciate the dynamics that define parenting, especially when every limb is being pulled on, clung to or hung from . . . by all my children . . . at the same time.

One cold January night, I was on bedtime duty and wondering why the Olympic committee doesn’t award gold medals for parenting. Earlier in the week, I had recommitted to a routine at the gym after, oh, let’s say, a year of serious muscle atrophy. Severe pain was an understatement of my physical condition that night. In fact, I found it excruciating to sit or stand.

But life goes on.

After tub time, I gingerly pried myself from the bath floor, hobbled to my son’s room and eased into the story-time chair. Seconds later, life flashed before my eyes when my toddler and kindergartener made synchronized swan dives into my lap. Seventy pounds of squealing childhood landed firmly on my exercise-challenged legs. I gasped at the pain, desperately choking back a not-so-motherly expression.

They squirmed. They wriggled. My eyes rolled back in my head as I moaned and gritted my teeth. “Sit . . . still,” I exhaled the words.

At last, they settled into position against my chest, and we read the evening’s book-of-choice. In fact, we read book after book after book. I relaxed into their bath-warm little bodies and laughed when they giggled silly questions, pointed out pictures and gave unique commentaries on each page of each story.

Suddenly, I felt another twinge of pain. But this one was in my heart.

Time had stopped for a few seconds, only to remind me it was fleeting. I reflected on the splendor of holding my little ones and nurturing them through these tender years. My throat tightened as I thought about the not-so-distant future when they outgrew cuddling and bedtime books.

I knew that no matter how much I might feel stretched like a rubber band, I needed to treasure the hours and days with my children. And, that very minute, I made a vow to look beyond the “pain,” make the most of this time and treasure the moments. These all-too-fleetingmoments.

I was struck by the bitter sweetness of this memory-making thought, and as I tucked them into bed, I realized a new story had been written. Indelibly. On my heart.

Sherrie Peterson

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners