This past week, our 4 year old got really sick. I got the dreaded call from Preschool, and I admit, my first thought was, “Oh boy. What has he done now?” (side note: last week’s reports included 2 dumped out water tables and 1 dumped out sensory bin. Calls from preschool are not uncommon). He had seemed perfectly fine that morning, but the director let me know that he had sort of slid slowly into lethargy all morning and was practically falling asleep in the office, registering a fever of 101.4 f. Poor kid.
So I alerted everyone at work and headed out to get my baby. We snuggled, we watched movies, we made “special tea” for his sore “froat” and did all the things you do when your kid feels crummy.
I’m a teacher, and we were just days away from our summer break, so taking multiple days off was really tricky so close to the end of the year. My hubby stayed with him the next day. When I came home, he told me that all Parker had wanted to do was to snuggle, but that there was just so much to do for our business and for his day job that he didn’t. He made a nest for him on the floor of the office, and Parker watched him edit video.
Our little guy was a trooper, and my husband is a great daddy, so read the next part knowing that I have every confidence that our kid knows he is loved. But I also think this story is such an important reminder, and I want to share with you what I told Bryan after he relayed that story.
Just snuggle. Just walk away from the video for 10 minutes, pick up your sick kid who needs a hug, and give him the snuggles he wants. He’s only 4 for another few months. Soon he’ll be 6. 10. 15. 23. His childhood is already slipping through our fingers. I still remember the weight of his tiny body against me as I cradled him and he nursed. I remember the ease with which I scooped him up as a toddler. Now, it’s hard to figure out what to do with those long, lanky arms and legs.
But sometimes he still wants to be picked up like a small child. Sometimes he really needs to cuddle like a baby. His growing heart needs it. And his body is only going to continue to grow, his mind to expand, his childhood to slip away.
Parenting is hard work, guys. I feel the frustration, anxiety, stress of it all. But don’t forget- take a deep breath. Soak in the sweetness of it, too. Enjoy them while they’re small.
Stop and snuggle.