To snuggle or not to snuggle: that is the question on my mind.
"Mom, will you snuggle with me?" my 10-year-old will ask, her arms outstretched from her bed, as I turn to leave her dark room.
"Not tonight, sweetie."
That's the answer I've been giving her all too often these days, even though I feel a stab of guilt every time I say it. Reading to my daughters followed by a short snuggle have been bedtime standards in our house. But our snuggles and even our reading are falling by the wayside as they grow older and participate in evening activities like Girl Guides and basketball. By the time I get the snuggle request, it's usually just too late or I have writing to do before I go to bed and I tell myself I just don't have the time for it.
This year's Mother's Day gift from my daughters has prompted me to rethink that.
My daughters gave me "Love Jars" -- clear jars they painted and filled with sweet notes for me. To my eyes of course, every single note they wrote in their cute child-like printing is absolutely adorable, but their notes had a common theme, even though they didn't write them together. Most of their notes talked about how much they enjoy spending time with me.
"I like baking with you"; "I like watching figure skating with you"; "I love to hold your hand. It makes me happy." Both girls wrote that they enjoy playing "chase" around the house with me and our beagle, Daisy.
Then came the heart-wrenchers: "I like to read with you and snuggle"; "I like to read with you"; "I like snuggling with you."
Oh, the pain of that big guilt knife twisting into the heart of this mother who has been turning her back on the outstretched arms and the snuggle requests!
I know, of course, how important it is to spend time to my girls, but seeing it written down in their own printing is an eye-opening reminder of how much my time means to them. Before I know it, my girls will be grown and gone, and I'll be longing to hold their tiny hands or to share whispers and giggles as they fall asleep. I have precious little time left to bake with them, read to them or chase the dog with them.
I know can't be with them 24/7; I can't ignore work commitments or project deadlines; I know sometimes I'm going to have to miss watching their swimming lessons, skip out on a soccer practice or miss a bedtime snuggle.
I don't, however, want to look back on my life as a mother and regret the snuggles I turned down. Now is the time to savour every moment I can with them. So from now on when I hear the question, "Mommy, will you snuggle with me?" my answer will be yes.
Better yet, I hope they won't even have to ask.
Li'l Girl Talk
"I remember you on Remembrance Day." A 'love note' from The Youngest, age 7.
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