Light glows around the bathroom door and I can hear little feet jumping and (splashing) bounding around the room.
“Papa you know about stories?”
yes little one, tell me a story?
“Once upon a time there was carrots and radish, TINY bunnies!” (and the story goes on)
Bedtime is late tonight, she is very tired but not near as tired as he is. His night before was spent working late hours, taking a quick shower and then waking to her cries at 2am “Papa, papa come in here. Papa come cuddle me.” and he answers. And works again the next day. Because it is a short window of time that your eldest daughter will ask to be held all night. Because answering her needs is his job and he takes it very seriously. Because her need is bigger than his. Because he just loves her so much.
The door pops open and a stark naked tiny girl is giggling hard, gap tooth and wet bangs. “Papa, you know I like cat pajamas? You know its cold enough for FLEECE!”
“Yes sweet girl, lets get your jammies on and you can pick some books.”
The ritual isn’t rushed. Even though the afternoon was full of meltdowns; The baby screams and the wife cries. Even though the biggest little girl didn’t eat any dinner and poured water all over the bathroom floor. Despite it all, his love and willingness to show it is unfaltering. No “time outs” were had. No “because I said so” ‘s were uttered, his somehow unending patience fills all of us with evening smiles and twinkling eyes.
The baby settles to nurse into sleep. The light around the bathroom door gone and the rosy nightlight lamp fills Nolies room. They read. And read. Then lay down to sleep, only she wants to sleep with her head on the opposite end of the bed than typical. “That’s a pretty silly way to sleep, but lets do it!” Papa says yes. Papa defaults to yes. He hears her, knows there is a little extra work for him and yet, “yes.”
Minutes later I hear them both. Matching sleep sounds. Groans and snores. I go to extract Charlie and Nolie is cuddled up on his collar bone in the very spot he has our tattoo- “One”- it carries much more weight now. Isn’t just Charlie and I as one. It is the word for our family, we are one. Held up by God, our only One. Inspired to parent with grace, empathy and love.
Also, if you are interested in some of the parenting changes we are making, here is an article that give some information. Also, the book that we recently read and are gaining a lot of inspiration from is Unconditional Parenting, I highly recommend reading it.