I didn't tuck her in. I was home. I could have climbed the stairs to give her a kiss, but I didn't realize she hadn't come down to tell me she was going to bed until it was time for me to go to bed. By that time she was asleep.
If I'm home, I always tuck my girls in at night. We pray together, I kiss them and tell them good night. I usually tuck them both in at the same time, then trust my older daughter to go to sleep when it's her bedtime.
But the other night, my daughter came home at 9:30 from soccer practice. She took a shower and went to bed. She didn't even tell me she was going to bed.
As I climbed the stairs to head to bed myself, I realized that I had missed those moments with her, and it made me sad. So, I stood silently by her bed that night, watched her sleep for a moment, then kissed her goodnight, wondering how many more nights she would even want mom to tuck her in. I thought maybe we were on the cusp of a new form of independence.
But the first words out of my daughter's mouth the next morning were: "You never came up to kiss me last night." And my mama's heart rejoiced.
You see, no matter how old our kids are, they need to know they are loved. Being tucked in at night still makes my daughter feel loved and secure. It's still important to her. But it may not always be the way she needs me to show her love, and that's OK. When that day comes, I will miss those quiet moments with her at bedtime, but I will find other ways to remind her that she's loved.
No matter the age of our kids, from babies to teens, we have to find ways to remind them they are loved -- no matter what the day brings. And we have to find ways to show them we love them that they will understand and appreciate.
My younger daughter loves to get a note with her lunch. I started putting notes in her lunch last year. When we switched to homeschooling this year, she asked me not to stop writing her notes -- even though we're together all day. Those notes make her feel loved. On Tuesday, she even complained that her note was too short.
If there's anything that our kids need in this day and age, it's to know that they are loved for who God made them to be -- not for anything they say or anything they do. Whether it's a kiss goodnight, a note in a lunchbox, attending an event they are participating in, or simply spending some time with them, we have to figure out the best way to show our kids love on a daily basis.
Those little things that you do for your kids are not going unnoticed by them. Your kids may not even recognize that those things make them feel loved, but they certainly notice when you don't do them.
I want to encourage you to live out the words of Jesus when it comes to loving your kids: "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 13:34). Love your kids the way Jesus loves us -- unreservedly and unconditionally. Let them see Jesus in you by loving them the way He does.
As you go through your day today, think of a new way to show your kids they are loved. Spend a little time examining what you already do to show love to your kids. Talk with your kids about the things that make them feel loved. Try to incorporate those things into your routine.
The world is a tough place. Knowing that you are loved makes it a little easier. Knowing that you are loved makes the long days shorter and the hard days a little less hard. Kiss your kids goodnight, send notes in their lunches, hug them when they need it. Because they need tangible moments that tell them they are loved.