A few months ago, I was turned onto another blog by a good friend. It's called Hands Free Mama, and it's all about one mom's journey to let go (of all the unimportant things) "to grasp what really matters." I liked the blog and thought I was doing a pretty good job of what she was describing...until yesterday.
She had a post about having a "worthwhile" summer with your kids. She was challenging me to do summery things with the kids. I began to ask myself, what opportunities am I missing this summer (as I tackle cleaning the basement or organize a closet). How would the kids remember this summer? How would I remember it?
Then, of course, my mind took off. Forget summer, what other opportunities have I been missing with them? How many times have the kids asked me to play something with them only to get the same response, "Sure, honey, I'd love to...Right after I finish ________"? I realized that they had stopped asking as frequently.
What I first saw a sign of maturity (independent play), I now began to question: Did they stop asking because they never got a real "yes"? Tears stung my eyes as I read her post. I ran up the steps and released them from quiet time early.
"Want to play?" I asked nervously. What if they said no? Luckily, children are very forgiving.
Their little eyes widened. "Yes!" they shouted. And, oh, have we played since then.
We have had water Olympics in the wading pool, planted herbs, caught a caterpillar and built it a makeshift home on the porch (filled to the brim with all the leaves it could eat in a lifetime), had several water gun fights, you name it!
There is laundry wrinkling in my dryer. There are stacks of papers in my room. There is avocado stuck to Jack's highchair, but my heart is peaceful today. Today I am confident I managed my time and responsibilities well.
There was no argument as I sent the kids up to quiet time this afternoon. I think it's because they are tired (in a very good way) and realizing I am not sending them up there because I want a break from them so I can get to the important stuff. They are the important stuff. I think that's the big takeaway. All the other details of my life won't matter a bit in a hundred years. What will matter is a legacy of love.
Did my children recognize they (along with Aaron and God) matter most in my life? Will they look back at their childhood and remember me constantly on the phone or computer or cleaning something, or will they see me bending down to peer in their eyes and listen to the very important things they have to say? How often do they see me with an impatient frown on my face as I wait for them to finish what they are saying or doing? How tragic!
But today is a new day. When quiet time is over, we are building a fort in the living room. We'll eat popcorn and watch a cartoon during the rain storm. Then, per Parker's suggestion, we'll decorate the kitchen to "celebrate all the races dad's won" (though, he's never actually won a race, to my knowledge).
I am determined to celebrate the rest of the summer with these crazy kids. Thank you, Hands Free Mama, for the much-needed reminder of what summer (and motherhood) is all about!