Angela just turned seven. The other night she asked me to read with her before bed. She snuggled under her covers. I grabbed my pillow to get comfy beside her and after reading two or three books with her (I can’t remember exactly) I promptly fell asleep. When I woke up I forgot my pillow and went to my room.
In the morning Angela was carrying the pillow around, hugging it and holding it close to her. I even saw her with her eyes closed, breathing in deeply as she cradled the pillow near her face. I have noticed this has happened before when I’ve accidentally left my pillow in her room. She carries it around and holds it close until eventually she puts it down and I place it back in its rightful place on my bed.
I love my pillow too. I paid extra for it because it is king-sized and soft, high-quality down. After years of having cheap pillows, I finally bought myself a nice one last summer because I was having neck problems. Yesterday, after watching Angela carrying it around and obviously deriving so much pleasure from holding it to her face, I felt kind of guilty- the children’s pillows are not as nice as mine.
“Angela, do you like that pillow?” I asked, already knowing the answer and thinking to myself, I’m going to have to get her one too.
“Mommy, I LOVE this pillow,” she replied, and as if to prove it she closed her eyes, took a whiff and hugged it even closer.
“I know,” I said, “it’s a great pillow. It’s soft and comfortable and cool and white.” I was going to tell her we could go to Target and get her one too but she suddenly stopped and just looked up at me square in the face.
“That’s not why I like it,” she said.
I looked at her a little confused.
“I like your pillow-I love your pillow- because it smells like YOU.”
Then it hit me. Have you ever had one of those moments that confirms what you already know but in a way that you did not know it before? Well that’s what happened to me then.
Children don’t need things. They need their mothers. A mother’s presence is comforting, soothing, quieting, calming, necessary, no, essential. Our children need us. Our children crave us. And when we are not around, temporarily, they will smell us, think of us, dream of us even in our pillows.
This is why I stay at home with my children, to be a comfort, love and support for them. They can have my pillow during the night, but during the day they can have ME.