My sons and I were so hungry at dinner, we finished in 10 minutes. We stuffed rigatoni with meat sauce into our mouths with little talking, an absolute rarity as all three of us are big talkers. Daddy had to work late so it was just us. As I cleared the dinner dishes, the boys quickly got into their pajamas. We still had an hour until bedtime so I asked them if we should all color together.
I took out some coloring sheets I save for the occasions that I color with them. I don’t want to color Batman or Dinosaurs. I want to color something interesting. I take out a robot coloring sheet I have been saving for an evening like this. I also take my special pencils out. The boys love my pencils, which I hoard for special occasions.
We colored for nearly an hour. We sang songs. My oldest asked if I would write his name in cursive for him. I forgot the delight of cursive writing to a small child, a kin to a secret language that only a few can read or write. He felt fancy and important to see his name written out with all those loops and curves.
We drew rainbows and shooting stars when my youngest began to silently pout. I asked why and he said he didn’t know how to draw a star. My oldest was eager to show him as that’s what big brothers are for. He slowly did a step by step drawing and we watched as the youngest began to draw with the focus of an eagle. As the last point of the star connected, he threw down his pencil and threw up his arms and yelled “My first star!”.
I want motherhood to stay in these moments, not the moments where I am yelling like George Costanza and his parents about the stupidest thing. Or when I am asking my sons for the 4th time to complete some simple task. I want to stay in the moments where I feel like I am succeeding.
As we continue to color and draw both boys let out spontaneous I-love-you-Mommy’s and get up to give me a hug or kiss without prompting. I can see that they feel loved, in a way that feeding them and cleaning their underwear never seems to accomplish.
We pack up and brush our teeth for bed. I tuck in the youngest whose bedtime ritual includes me saying 5 of his nicknames. 5 because he’s 5.
“Are you my baby?”
“Yes”, he replies. He whispers “Ask me if I’m your robot” I can only assume because we colored robots.
“Are you my little robot?”
“Yes”, he replies sleepily.
The last name is always the same per his request. It’s been the same for 2 of his 5 years. “Are you my little ninja?”
“Yes. Are you my little mommy?”
I go into my oldest’s room. He is reading in bed, waiting. He’s a little bookworm just like I was at his age and still am. His bedtime ritual is for us each to share a happy thought. These happy thoughts ward off bad dreams. I share one of his favorite happy thoughts, when a little girl in his class wears her hair in pigtails. When it’s his turn he says, “My happy thought is coloring robots with you.”
I want this last hour to start over and replay…over and over.
About the Author
Shemaiah Gonzalez is a freelance writer who thrives on moments where storytelling, art and faith collide. She is obsessed with being well rounded as she jumps from Victorian Lit to Kendrick Lamar from the Homeless Shelter to the Cocktail Party. A Los Angeles native, she now lives in Seattle with her husband and their two sons. You can follow her at shemaiahgonzalez.com, Facebook, and Twitter.