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“Water, please.”

It was a small voice, but we live in a small house so I heard it instantly. It was about 3 AM, but I was having trouble sleeping. I had just been away on a mindfulness retreat for four days, during which time I had missed my daughters terribly. I hadn’t seen them since I had gotten home a few hours earlier, and I was grateful for the excuse to go into their room.

It was quite dark in there, and I had to blink a few times to figure out who was awake. It was my three year old, the one who seemed to have a harder time while I was away. She had regressed in her potty training, and refused to talk to me on the phone when I called home. She was sitting up in her bed, holding a pink sippy cup in her hand.

“Mommy, can I please have some more water?”

Her voice came through the silence with such sweetness that I felt my chest tighten and tears come to my eyes. I was so grateful for how normal, how known, it all felt. There was no confusion in her voice about the fact that it was me, Mommy, standing there after several nights of not being there. There was no anger or resentment in response to my recent absence. I was so happy to hear her voice, to have a moment with her, that I didn’t care that it was 3 AM and I was exhausted…

The rest of my post about mindful parenting in the middle of the night is over on my Mindful Parenting blog on PsychCentral.com.