As Ed and I back ourselves out of Brian's bedroom at night, we hear him saying over and over, "Good night! I love you! Sleep well! See you in the morning! Good night! I love you! Sleep well! See you in the morning..." until we are in the hallway. It's not about stalling... or one more story... or I need a drink... or can I have a snack. It's just about love. This boy is filled with love.
When I go in to check on him before I go to sleep, I half expect one eye to open so he can make one last declaration of love and good night wishes. Part of me wishes to wake him - just so I can hug him again.
Is that kind of... strange? I don't know. But it's just how we are. It's how we've always been. This house is filled with love.
I will often put Hope to bed first so I can linger with Brian a little later and read a book or talk. He makes such a fuss over his little sister and does NOT like to miss saying good night to her. The other night the two of them kissed and hugged goodnight and then I began to head up the stairs with Hope. Halfway up I heard, "Wait! Wait for me! I need just one more kiss and hug from Hopi!"
As the two of them met on the landing, I stood back on the steps and just watched through my camera. I didn't speak. I didn't suggest a pose or an idea. I listened as his voice went up an octave and his words softened.
And I just watched....
"Hopi! I came up to give you one more kiss! Can I have a kiss and a hug?" he asked.
"no!" she replied with a sweet voice. "I want a kiss."
"Hope, that's what I said, silly! I want a kiss! Maybe we'll dance. Want to dance first?" he suggested.
"yes." in her softest voice.
"Good night, Hopi. I hope you sleep well. I'll see you in the morning. I love you, sweetie pie," he said.
"love you, brian." she replied.
And with that, they had one more kiss and hug. And one more I love you.
Children are so pure and vulnerable and easygoing with their love. It's not until you get older that things can get in the way. Pettiness, resentments, boredom, laziness. I mean, honestly... when was the last time you ran after someone important to you for just one more I love you. One more I appreciate you. One more hug. What's keeping you from going that one extra step? It's easy to get complacent when there are chores to do or children to raise or calendars to keep. But as I watched the faces of my children light up as they danced like I wasn't watching... and loved each other without a care in the world... it convicted me.
Everyone deserves one more I love you.