A bit ago we got a surprise visit from my Mother-in-Law. She had recently had a small gathering and had some leftover snacks, and she is smart enough to know her son is always up for food.
It was in the evening, and I had started getting my youngest prepped for bed by putting together the bath. His sister had knocked on the door and asked if she could jump in too. So there were two kids in the tub and a tired mom squatting on a stepstool when grandma knocked on the door and asked if she could come in too.
The holidays are trying on me. I am not a grinch, but I am not Cindy Lou either and it lingers. I am just a sad and tired mom. And with one child on the verge of bedtime, I was very excited to be non-responsible. I wanted to power down. I wanted to go to a room and shut the door and just...not.
Grandma stayed in with my oldest while I dried, jammy-ed, fed, booked, and put down the baby, and then very shortly later, Grandma was off spreading more cheer to the next on her list (I imagine.) I didn't see her leave.
The next morning, my daughter came downstairs gave me a big hug, and shared the couch cushion with me, saying it was starting to get too small for us both. I said, "nonsense."
I pulled her in close and rested my head on her head, and smelled her, and told her she smelled good.
"Did Grammy help you wash your hair?" Cause I know I didn't.
"Yep, and I used Dad's shampoo, and I like the way it smells."
"Me too. Did you have fun with Grammy?"
And she went on to tell me how much fun, and how great it was she came over and how she loved showing her the decorations she put up in her room and how she helped her get dressed and, and, and...
It was just a few moments. But it was special.
My daughter felt loved and cared for. And especially in these days when I'm battling my own holiday demons and trying to hang on with tears just below the surface, it was a huge gesture of kindness and support that I don't take for granted.
My mother-in-law came over and washed her grandchild's hair, and it was the sort of gift that could never be wrapped.
There was so much energy, so many lists and suggestions for giving experiences this past holiday, and I'm all for it. Memberships to museums, movie or theater tickets, trampoline passes, or trips to places and events. Give to your heart's content.
I just hope that we recognize that our kids need experiences, eye contact, uninterrupted attention, and quality time on a consistent basis. Our kids need support from more than just their parents. Us and our kids need community, to belong, to lean on, and to celebrate with.
Ariel Swift does most of the writing around this blog, but we love having guest writers and visits!