Footnotes: Thoughts from the margins of a mom’s life

I’ve started a little side project with my children. It involves a notebook and a little bit of spying. I’m listening to my kids when they don’t know I’m listening – the little pretends they share, their private jokes, their problem solving. And now that I have my notebook in hand, I’ve started capturing the best bits of overheard dialog. Here is something I jotted down this month, a snippet of talk between William (age 5) and his sister Caroline (age 3). This conversation took place in William’s room while I was across the hall in my room, pretending to read a book.

W: Caroline, do you love me or jumping on the bed more?
C: Jumping.
W: Are you teasing me, Caroline? Because I hope you are. Do you love me or jumping?
C: Jumping.
W: No, you love me, right?
C: Right.
W: More than jumping?
C: Right!
W: I thought you were teasing. Because I LOVE you so much!

I’m sure other parents out there can imagine how my heart melted hearing these words. I think of these exchanges as examples of the old-fashioned phrase “sweet nothings.” But that phrase doesn’t really fit, since these sweet nothings are really sweet somethings, a moment that is precious and sweet and well worth writing down. I’ve realized that these sweet somethings happen a lot more often than I realized, or perhaps the process of writing them down has just made them more visible. And I’m so grateful they exist, and for having a record of them in my journal. The responsibilities of mothering can feel staggering: correcting inappropriate behavior (again!), making dinner (again!), doing laundry (again!), but these sweet somethings never get old. So I encourage you, parents of young children, grab a pen, hide behind a door and see what sweet somethings are happening right under your noses.


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