I am a spy. I never thought I would be, nor ever had the desire to become one. Yet here I am. Here I am watching my children though a video monitor as they do their best to avoid going to sleep. After a fire we had in our house, we lost the two monitors we had. Yes, we had two…in one room. There was one to watch each child in each crib and yet we were only in the bedroom next door. Crazy, right? For me though, there was comfort in knowing the volume was amplified from their room if they were restless, as well as being able to see them immediately to know if they were in danger. Most times, I simply enjoyed watching them sleep as I dozed off. It was the best TV show ever.
Well, needless to say, I was quite upset when the monitors were lost. So, in one of my “pity me” moments, I went out and splurged on the latest model. Now I have a camera that can zoom and scan the room, so I can watch all 3 of our children as I control it all from a cordless monitor. I love it. Of course, it has come in handy when I have put a child in timeout in their room and I can watch to make sure they are behaving. Or, when the oldest two children are playing upstairs, I can watch while I am downstairs cleaning. I feel like I am giving them a little taste of freedom and learning how become independent, yet I am able to still watch from a distance to be able to step in when necessary...like to break up a fight or to stop them from jumping off the bunk beds into a mountain of pillows that they thought would break their fall, even though the pillows weren’t quite “mountain” enough. I know my spying won’t last long, as my children will learn to block the camera or shut it off. I also know that I can’t take that camera and stick it on their backs all throughout their childhood to protect them from harm…though I might still try.
In the meantime, I am enjoying the random glimpses of my children that I would otherwise not get to see. Most nights, I see my oldest daughter comforting and singing my youngest daughter to sleep. I see the older two climbing into bed together and talking about their day. Or, my favorite, hearing my baby practicing her words, testing out new sounds and babbling herself to sleep.
In my adult world of paying bills, cleaning the house, working and all the responsibility that comes with raising a family, it is in these moments that I get lost and thrown back in time. I see the bonds of sibling relationships being formed with my own children as they spend time alone together and now realize that I too had these moments with my sisters. And while I was learning and growing sharing playtime with my sisters, my mother too walked quietly throughout the house...paying bills, folding laundry, working. A surreal moment indeed, to live my life and finally see through my own eyes, the life of my mother. There is a deeper understanding of what my mother did for me that hits me to the core and makes me appreciate her even more. Again, I feel as if I am a spy…though this time, I’m going back in time 30 plus years to see my mother take care of my sisters and I. The sacrifices…the love…the sleepless nights…the discipline…the hard work it took to make her children the best possible human beings she could. Kind. Caring. Trustworthy. Hard working. I wonder every day if I am making the best possible choices to teach my children the values to become a person with true character and integrity.
So tonight I spy. I watch them chatter and giggle as they slowly start to wind down their day. My daughter helps my son gather his blankets and arrange a new bed of sorts on the floor. My son skips over to the crib to check on the baby and reminds my daughter to speak softly as to not wake her up. They practice the alphabet together and quiz each other on what words start with the letter “p”. Papa. Princess. Pray.
I spy with my little eye…caring children…considerate children…helpful children…in this moment anyhow. Maybe I am doing something right. As the noise starts to fade, I quietly enter the room to find them sleeping side-by-side, holding hands. I spy, a priceless moment in time that no camera can truly capture.