Like many of my experiences in motherhood, I am often caught with surprise at how emotional I get at little, ordinary moments. I am not really a crier, so I am not that mom crying at dance recitals... but I do really feel the need to cherish certain memories and try to imprint them in my mind. I always expected to do that at very specific times, like Christmas morning, first steps, and when my son was baptized. Those moments are unquestionably some of the best memories I have with my family. But my favorites moments that I have burned in my heart and mind are the unexpected ones. The ones I didn’t know would mean so much to me. It’s the moments that I feel taken off guard with the rush of love and gratitude for my family, life, and God for allowing me to even experience something like this.
One of my most cherished moments of being a parent is seeing my children fall asleep on the floor of the living room. Isn’t that weird? I never knew the emotions that it would stir up until it happened for the first time. It was in December when Noah was 3 years old. We were all excited for Christmas time and I was pregnant with our second baby. In the middle of watching Elf, I looked over to Noah passed out on the floor, looking as peaceful as ever. I thought that I was so emotional because I was pregnant... but it has happened several times since then. It doesn’t matter if my kids fall asleep for a nap after playing with blocks on the floor or fall asleep on the floor during a movie. Each time it happens, the overwhelming love and gratitude I feel for that moment is hard to even put in words.
I remember being a little girl and falling asleep on the floor. I remember setting up my pillows and blankets on the ground and watching soap operas or movies with my mom and I remember feeling so content in those moments. I didn’t know then that I wouldn’t always have that. I thought that was something that everyone got in life... that it was like an unspoken right for all kids. I took those days for granted right until the day that I couldn’t do that anymore. As I got older, those moments came to an end. Part of the reason was because after my mom and her boyfriend split, she needed help paying the bills so she rented out our extra bedroom. The people that rented the room were normally strangers to me and most of the time, men. I was uncomfortable around them and stayed in my room as much as I could. When my mom struggled with addiction, our house was always full of strangers to me and I stayed in my room even more. I would never again fall asleep on the living room floor.
I write about this not to bash my past, or bash my mom’s struggles. I say this because as adults, the torch passes to us. We get to take those hurts that we experienced as children and make a new path for our children so they don’t have to experience that same pain. We get to change the ending to the parts of our story that we didn’t like. Our pain doesn’t have to hold us down. If I’m being honest, there have been times that I was a little bitter over having my childhood end before I was ready. But now, I choose to be thankful instead. I am thankful that my husband and I have created a life that allows my children fall asleep peacefully on the floor, time and time again. I am thankful that each time I see them sleeping on the floor, a piece of my heart heals.
If you are reading this, you still have time to write a new ending. What parts of your story are you letting hurt take over? Let today be the time that you rewrite and transform that hurt into healing and hope.