There are days when I want to say no to everything my daughter wants. She will have a series of demands ranging from needing a new notebook to buying a present for her friend “just because.” I’ve learned to swallow my irritation during those times and engage in conversation instead. She’s a child. She needs attention. She needs direction. Two of the strongest virtues of a parent are selflessness and patience. Selflessness and patience. Patience and selflessness, and keeping your eye on the goal.

Yesterday was one of those days when she asks me why I can’t sleep with her in her bed. This has been a struggle for the both of us. One part of me wants to let go and the other part knows she’s old enough to lower this security net she has established for herself. I could have just be done with a no and walked out on her but I tried to explain that it is healthy for her to sleep on her own and enjoy the comfort of her own space, and that it’s part of growing up. She said, “mom, I know you want the right things for me, but do you know how much it means to me when you cuddle me at night? It takes all my fears away.” So I lay down with her and rubbed her back, like I do pretty much every night, the only difference being that I decided to take on a new attitude and put aside the battle we fight, the endless series of verbal fencing and consequently, a heavy heart. She fell asleep in a few minutes. As I got up to leave, she said, “thank you mama. That means a lot to me.” Oh the sighs of tough love. But last night I realized that sometimes a yes can help achieve the same results but with lesser turmoil. I walked away happy and successful, for she slept peacefully, reassured that mom cares.