The Sweet Choice

Last night Matt and I went out for a fancy dinner. Alone. We had uninterrupted conversation and delicious food. It was amazing.

But then we came home to a not so sleepy daughter. At 10pm.

It was to be expected. Abby has never gone to bed easily. She’s a night owl through and through. We’re used to her singing or telling stories in her room for hours after we’ve put her down for the evening. And I think we’ve accepted that no amount of scheduling, or wearing her out with physical activity, or change in diet is the answer. God made her to be full of energy when the sun goes down, and so I’m thinking that one day it’ll be a very useful quality. Maybe she’ll be a doctor working the graveyard shift. Or maybe she’ll just throw some really great parties. Either way, she won’t be sleeping through the action.

While it’s easy to be positive about her hoot-owl syndrome in the light of day, it’s not the same when it’s late and I’m tired and all I want to do is go to bed.

To be honest, Abby wasn’t the least bit happy about going to bed last night.  There wasn’t any singing or playing on her part. Just a great desire not to sleep. After about 30 minutes of listening to her crying and screaming and announcing “I need to tell you something very important,” I went and sat on the edge of her bed.

She sat up next to me and said, “Mommy, I just don’t know how to sleep.” She leaned her little head onto my shoulder, sniffled a few times, and then said, “I really like your pretty dress though.”

And then the miracle of miracles happened.

Instead of being concerned that it was 10:30 on a Sunday night and I still wasn’t in pajamas and she still wasn’t asleep, I surprised myself by saying, “Thanks. Do you want to see me twirl in it?”

Of course she did. She loves twirling. So I twirled once to show her how the skirt flares out and the air catches it perfectly and then she twirled with me.

She climbed back in bed, I kissed her goodnight, and left.

I wish I could say that she went straight to sleep and we didn’t hear from her again, but she didn’t. A few minutes later she needed a drink. Then after that, a vitamin. Then the inevitable late night potty trip. She finally crashed around 11.

But the point is, we shared a very special, very sweet moment together last night. One that I will always remember and that I hope will somehow instill in Abby a love of full skirts and dancing with her mom.

Last night I was tired. Abby wasn’t. I could have gotten upset and yelled or threatened or spanked. I could have disciplined her.

I twirled instead.

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