My daughter turned 12 in May of this year, and for her birthday, I graduated her to a true tweenager’s bedroom, complete with an ultra-cool loft bed. Although it has been our tradition for approximately, well, twelve years, for me to tuck her in at night, I assumed she probably didn’t need the extra tucking once she relocated to the ceiling, and I’ve been praying with her in my bed, before kissing her goodnight on ground level and sending her on her way. I’m not going to lie; this has been bitter sweet for me. She seems to be surprisingly fine with the new arrangements, so I haven’t said anything or inserted myself into her new upper space.
This morning at 5:00, my iPhone buzzed. I groggily looked at the screen to see a Face Time chat request from my daughter. Assuming she had somehow sleep-dialed me from her iTouch, I declined the request and happily closed my eyes again. Moments later – another buzz, same request. I stared at the screen, but saw nothing but blackness, this time wondering if perhaps I was the culprit? Again, I declined, assuming a user error. A third request followed, and now fully awake, I accepted and cautiously spoke to the dark black rectangle in my hand: “Hello?”
That’s when I heard the sobs and through her tears, the plea: “Mommy, please come here. I’m scared.”
Nanoseconds later I was lying next to my girl, wiping away her tears, and at her request, singing her songs from our lullaby repertoire, as she told me about her dream. An hour quickly passed as she evolved emotionally to a better state: one in which she fell back asleep (this time in MY bed), and I prepared for my day.
I may be a bit slow on the front end, and I hate that it took three attempts for my daughter to communicate her needs to me, but the message came through loud and clear: just because she’s old enough to have her own space and her own iTunes account doesn’t mean she’s too old to need and to want actual face time with me. And tonight at bedtime I climbed up the ladder right behind her, laid down next to her, and kissed her goodnight – right after I tucked her into her space.