The Time My Daughter Will Have for As Long As She Wants It

little-girl-feetIt’s 10 at night, and all I want to do is pull a comforter up around my shoulders and head into dreamland. I haven’t needed the counter on the weather report to tell me the pollen count is through the roof. The drum beat in my head is enough.

But the bedside light is still shining, and my eyes are still wide open. There’s a small person in my bed, eager to tell me stories. Her father is showering, and the dogs are already fast asleep. The television is quiet, and the gadgets are stowed away.

Sleep will have to wait.

This is our time, the time when we shut out the world. This is our time to talk about everything and nothing all at once, about big plans and minor annoyances, about the movies she wants to see and the mean girls on the playground.

This is her time, a time when she has me one-on-one, with no frantic work emails to answer, dinner to make, dogs to feed, dishes to wash, laundry to fold or disaster to manage.

This is my time, my time to smell the sweet scent of shampoo and snag snuggles, my time to learn all over again what it’s like to be 11.

I’m tired, and I want desperately to sleep.

But now is not the time for sleep. Now is the time for understanding what it means to ship (making silly names for your “dating” friends) and why being signed up for the school’s puberty class is the absolute worst thing that can ever happen to anyone … ever. Now is the time to hear who “likes” who and why pineapple makes your mouth hurt. Now is the time because tomorrow this time may not come.

There are parents whose kids don’t talk to them. Certainly mine doesn’t tell me every minute detail of her day, and I’m not sure I’d be able to handle it all anyway (if you’ve ever had a 43-minute Minecraft lecture while trying to make dinner, you’ll understand).

But so long as she wants to talk, sleep can wait.


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