The other day I rushed home from work after an important morning meeting. Little was feeling sick and I hated to be away. I arrived home to find him sound asleep, not missing me a bit. Big and our sitter were playing a nice, quiet game of Chutes and Ladders in our playroom (aka garage) before lunch.
As I walked in to join them, I saw laundry on the washer that needed to be done, I had work concerns racing through my head and I knew it was time to get Big (and me) fed.
But first we had to wrap up the game. I took over what ended up being the losing piece of Chutes and Ladders (really, I’m far too competitive to let anybody—even a 4-year old—win). As we played, I was amazed by how wrapped up in the moment Big was. He looked at every picture on the board and wanted to talk about it. He methodically counted each square and was genuinely thrilled or disappointed by where he landed.
I made a promise to myself to let the other things go and just be right there with him—in the moment.
After the game I told him it was lunchtime. He asked if we could build a fort and eat lunch inside. Though my grumbling stomach said no, my commitment to being in the moment found me saying yes.
Quickly our fort evolved into a café. Our easel became the chalkboard menu. The Swiffer became the poll through our kiddie table, holding up the perfect umbrella—a fitted sheet wrapped snuggly around some folding chairs. We named our café and made a sign for each entrance. After the streamers were hung for decoration, it was time to place our orders.
The chef worked her magic on some scrambled eggs, Italian soup, pear slices and fresh tomatoes from Uncle B’s garden, and we sat down to enjoy our meal. While the food was surprisingly delightful (and certainly a step above the usual turkey and fruit slices thrown on a plastic plate), the company was better than ever. When did my little boy become someone who would sit and enjoy a leisurely, mature meal with me?
I was so enjoying my alone time with Big—something that’s become far too rare since Little came along—when we heard that scratchy voice calling us. Big looked excitedly at me and said Little needed to come order his lunch and join us.
We continued our plus-one lunch, but it wasn’t quite the same. Little was dancing and singing (even sick the kid’s a ham…which also happens to be what he ordered). He ran out of the café and before we knew it he had taken a plastic baseball bat to one of our signs. Big laughed hysterically, shouting, “Oh Destructo-baby!”
Sure, the moment was no longer one of clouds parting and angels singing, but the hearty laughter was just as sweet. And I was so glad to be right there—in that very moment.
I love the fact that big brother relished in little brother’s destruction instead of getting frustrated.
And thanks for the reminder that sometimes you just have to let go of the responsibilities and just go with the kiddos’ flow. There are way too many times where I start humming the Cats in the Cradle song to myself because I’m “too busy” to play… 🙁
Here’s to building forts and leaving to dishes to crust over!
The fact that Big didn’t get upset was in huge part because he felt like I’d given him so much undivided attention, I’m sure. Just goes to show that we all are happier and appreciate each other more when we let go. (If you know me, you know letting go isn’t my forte…I’ll keep rereading this!)
Happy fort building!
Amy N says
Love this! There are not many one on one moments we get and I too find myself caught up on “I need to do the dishes, laundry, etc” but need to let it go and sit with my kids and be in the moment. Sadly those days will be over and they won’t want to play a board game, etc with me. Thank you for reminding me of this…I need to leave the computer now and sit on the ground with my little one, play and enjoy every moment!
I know you spend lots of time soaking in the special moments. I hope you enjoyed some today!
Love it! I too say “YES” sometimes (and more often than before), instead of my automatic reply of “NO” because of our busy schedule for the day, and it’s so worth it.
I’m trying to reprogram to say yes more. It IS worth it!
you’re such a sweet mama. love it.
You saying I’m a sweet mama is like the highest compliment. You are so sweet, patient and loving with your sweet little guys! I try to be, but we all have our moments. I just don’t write about the other times…maybe I should!
Dana S says
I once heard a parent say “I try to always say yes to my children”. At first I thought what kind of parenting is that! As I pondered this more and talked to my own mother, she said maybe that means listening to what they say and really hearing them. I think it requires respect, patience and the knowledge that they are wonderful creations with their own view of the world and so much to share with us. I’ve learned you can a grant a
request as a wish, if it’s not possible, and it works pretty well.
Amy, you are such a dedicated and affectionate mom to your boys. I’m glad you gave yourself the gift of a unique, creative, fun luncheon date with Big.
I couldn’t agree more with this approach. Even if I say no, I do my best to explain that I wish I could and hopefully I can say yes…later. Thanks for the reminder. But of course I learned from the best! xoxo