I slipped down a muddy incline at the park the other day. As mothers often do, I was trying to carry too much. Hands full, a child clinging to my neck, I gracelessly fell down in the mud jamming my leg and back. The pain was brief, thankfully, and after seeing how my children reacted, I’ve decided that such minor falls might be worth the indignity and pain once in a while.
My eleven-year-old rushed into action and became uncharacteristically helpful. My six-year-old promised to “doctor” me and promptly began a list of things he wanted to “attend” to when we arrived home. My four-year-old, the one I had been half-heartedly carrying, apologized several times for hurting me and lavished hugs and kisses upon my “owies.”
When we arrived home, they made me lunch in bed (a first!), placed an ice-pack on my head, and began doctoring me. There were various “essential procedures” to do which entertained them and allowed me to remain comfortably in bed. A few times they even concluded that I needed to be left alone to rest. They left the room, shut the door, and left me all alone. It was a little like a mini-vacation.
But what really struck me was a simple act by my six-year-old. After my leg had been re-bandaged for the second or third time (the purpose of the bandage was unclear, but I wasn’t one to quibble), my son carefully tucked me back in again. Instead of letting me remain uncovered or unceremoniously dropping the blankets back down upon me, he gently re-covered my legs and tucked me back into bed.
How good it feels to be tucked in!
It was the same feeling I had years ago after surgery when the nurses gently tucked warm blankets around me, ensuring I was comfortable. There is something about being tucked-in that makes you feel loved, cared for, appreciated. And although my memories from childhood have faded, I’m sure I felt this way as a child when my parents tucked me in at night.
As adults, especially as mothers, we don’t often get tucked-in. We are usually the ones doing the tucking. Sometimes we cheerfully tuck our children in after a pleasant bedtime ritual, calmly kiss them goodnight, and then leave them to fall asleep and stay in their beds the whole night. But that is only sometimes . . .
Often, tucking-in is a task we do at the end of our rope, a task requested by a child who has required countless drinks, bathroom breaks, stuffed animals, and bedtime stories. Finally, when you are about to break, the child sweetly calls out, “Will you tuck me in, Mom?”
And who can say no to such a request?
Lying down, our sweet ones are at their most vulnerable. As we gently cover them with a blanket, we communicate to them that they are safe and loved, that there is nothing to fear, that we will take care of them.
So even if you don’t have little ones around anymore, perhaps there is someone who needs to be tucked-in. Or perhaps you can ask someone to tuck you in once in a while.