I grabbed my wallet and tried to zip my jacket around my pregnant belly right as the clock chimed 9pm. I sighed, wishing I could just be climbing into bed instead. “Hey Mom,” my son asked as he was dozing off to sleep an hour earlier, “did you remember to get that thing I needed for school tomorrow?” Of course I hadn’t. So there I was, waddling to our car to drive the thirty minutes across town to our local Wal-Mart. 9:00 at night. It had been a busy day already, working on potty training, cleaning the house, pulling weeds, library, meeting friends at the park, cleaning the chicken coop… and now to top it off I could feel a cold coming on.
What I would have given to just go to sleep.
I thought about how my husband had told the kids a few days before that when HE was old and grumpy and senile, they had better happily change HIS diaper and tuck HIM into bed. That night I had rolled my eyes. But tonight…TONIGHT I would agree. “Jeez.” I thought to myself. “The things we do for these kids!”
I drove passed the swimming pool and remembered how I had planned to look into swimming lessons. Not to mention the soccer team our oldest had been begging to join and the library summer reading program I had meant to sign them up for two weeks ago. The summer was filling up fast, and as I drove down the empty, quiet streets, I felt completely overwhelmed.
The things we do for our kids!
My back hurt, my legs were exhausted, my eyes bloodshot from waking up three times the night before with two-year-old nightmares and six-year-old ear aches. My house in shambles because we had no time to pick up the toys. And not to point fingers or anything, but it was all because of three little boys. Three little boys that constantly have us on the go, always demanding our energy and attention.
And then it hit me. We do so much for our kids. Our days are completely stuffed with kid this or kid that. But when was the last time I had stopped to really hug my boys? I mean a real, honest-to-goodness, not just a good morning or good night hug, but a “wow, I just really, really like you!” Kind of hug? When was the last time I actually got in the mud with them and didn’t think twice about the tracks through the kitchen and the laundry I would have to do later? When was the last time I sat down to play cars with them and saw toys instead of a huge mess I’d have to nag them to clean? When was the last time I knelt down to their level, looked into those sweet, blue eyes and actually listened to those brilliant little thoughts and ideas?
When was the last time I did that for my kids? When was the last time I actually did what they really need, what they are begging for, longing to hear, asking to do? Parents often do so much. But in the hustle and bustle of school projects, sports camps, swimming lessons, park days, and everything in between, do we remember to do the things that really matter?
My back hurt, my legs were exhausted, my eyes bloodshot. But as I walked in the door and the clock chimed 11pm, I breathed in the mess and vowed to do a little more of what really mattered. To give them my time and my love, not just my wallet and my urgent moments of rushing out the door. Not just the lessons, the practices, the play dates with friends, but ME. Their mother. When I am old and grumpy and senile, I want them to happily change my diaper and tuck me into bed not because “they had better,” but because they remember how I had done so much loving them. Because in all that we do for our kids, THAT is what really matters.