I just sat down at a coffee shop planning to write a very different piece but couldn’t help notice a mother and her newborn baby. Seeing her cradle the baby and kiss her little cheeks and hold her neck, so as to not break her, brought back a flood of wonderful memories. My boys are 7, 9 and 11 now and those days are a bit of a blur, but I think I lived that stage fully. I held my babies as much as I could, kissed them incessantly, and obsessed over all the little things like only a new mom can. I am grateful to have been able to be with them, to not rush back to work. That truly was a gift.
And that stage has passed… We are no longer the parents of babies, but rather of robust school-aged boys. Every day I marvel at the little people they are becoming, all that they are learning and all that they uniquely are. But am I truly soaking up this stage? Am I being truly present with them, playing with and listening to them? The answer is both yes, and no. Life is busy, and the do-list is long. When I unplug (from technology and from getting things done) I so completely enjoy them. Those are the times I am truly most joyful. Yet I find myself, fairly regularly, excusing myself from a game of catch, impatiently listening to a story that has gone on too long, offering my divided attention and rushing them to bed to move on with the all-too-important do-list.
And of course this will happen, some times. There’s a long list of things that need to be done, and they have my name on it. But when all is said and done, and we are no longer the center of our kids’ universe, we won’t remember what we “had” to get done, will we? We will however have regrets, big regrets, if we don’t give them our full attention, soak up their voices, their laughs and their smiles. Unfortunately, this stage too will pass…
So here’s a summer challenge, one I’m eager to take on: Take some time, (even if it’s just a few minutes) every day to play like a kid with your kids. That little item on the do-list is one I think we will all remember.