As Long as You Will Let Me

“Mommy, drink milk.”

You say this when you wake up in the middle of the night. I ask you to lie down but you’d cry and insist for milk even if we both know you’re not hungry. For your sake and your dad’s (because his sleep will get interrupted), I give in. You nurse yourself to sleep and I try to find a comfortable position while you’re on top of me.

We close our eyes and I put my arms around you. We won’t always be sleeping this way. This stage will be over before I know it.

“Mommy, wake up! Mommy, baba na!”

You say this first thing in the morning because you’ve just woken up from a good night’s sleep. You’re ready to face the world, and you want me with you. I delay getting out of bed, but your enthusiasm early in the morning makes me smile and feel alive.

“Mommy, sit down here”.

You say this when you want me to play with you. You say it repeatedly until you get my full attention. You teach me to be present—here and now, all of me with all of you.

You say “Haniah” while you look closely at your own reflection in my eyes. I pray you will always see yourself through my eyes, because there’s not a single thing I would change about you.

“I love you so much, Mommy!”
You say this and my heart flutters.

You also say “No” a lot these days and it does test my patience. But, I realize you are learning that you have the power to choose. You are discovering that you have a voice. And I want to help you find that voice, because I know you can use it to stand and fight for what is right in God’s eyes.

“Bye, Mommy!”

You say this during our pretend plays, and you seem okay at first. But then, you hesitate to leave. You look back at me and realize here with me is where you want to be.

I know it won’t always be this way. One day, the goodbye will be real.

So, let me treasure today.
Let me cherish your kiss.
Let me hug you for the 50th time.
Let me keep you for as long as you will let me.

We love you so much, Niah.
Happy 2nd birthday.

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