Tonight I tucked the kids in bed. Abram was first. Kneeling beside him I told him his secret, "I love you. Shh... Don't tell." Smiling, he whispered back, "I won't."
Noah informed me that I'd told him this secret before. He's the one who likes to tell everyone my secret the most. Tonight he kept it.
Joseph simply laid his head on my shoulder and sucked his middle and ring fingers as I whispered into his ear. After a moment he lifted his head and with his fingers still in his mouth looked at me for a long moment. Slowly his lips curled into a smile. He didn't say anything, but I think he understood.
Leaving the boys, I went to Naomi's room and laid down beside her, snuggling close. Quietly, I whispered for the fourth time, "I have a secret. I love you. Shh...Don't tell." For a moment, she was silent. Then, reaching her hand up and placing it on my cheek she said, "I have a secret." "Waiting for those three familiar words I was surprised to hear her say, "You are the best mom I could ever have in the whole world. Shh.. Don't tell anyone." It was a tender moment. One I will always cherish, and her secret is one will always keep close to my heart.
Nights like tonight, are some of my favorites. It's a game we play, but the truth is, we really do have a secret. One we all share. "I have a secret to tell you. I love you. Shh... Don't tell," is a message, coded beneath smiles and giggles, threats to expose, denials and nonchalance. Strip the fun away and it's my soul reminding theirs, "This is Important. I will always love you. Even when I yell and get frustrated. Even when the days get hard, and you don't feel happy. Even when I have to punish you for making bad choices. I still love you. Don't ever forget."
Don't forget. Don't tell. Shh...It's a secret.