I stare at her in her unicorn pajamas. Her favorites. She is all ready for bed and shiny clean from the bath. Hair combed. Teeth brushed. She scurries about putting her dolls to bed and making sure everything is just right. She tucks them in purposefully and lovingly while I do my best to have patience with a process that seems to go on forever. When she finally settles into bed under the covers she asks, “Can I have 2 stories tonight?” Except “stories” sounds like “stowh-wees” making it all the more endearing. So I say yes. Because five more minutes doesn’t matter.
I stand behind him as I push him on the swing. His favorite activity. He talks a lot while he is on the swing. He remarks about things he sees in the backyard or things that are on his mind. As I push my hands against the small of his back and watch him try to pump his legs, I respond to his questions, mostly about bugs these days. I do my best to answer them while juggling the to-do list in my head. I need to go inside and get lunch ready. “Almost time,” I tell him. “Can I swing a little longer?” he asks. Except “swing” sounds like “fwing” making it all the more endearing. So I say yes. Because five more minutes doesn’t matter.
I hold the baby in my arms. His chin rests on my shoulder. His little hand clutching his lovey. He’s so warm, so snuggled, so still. I can hear his little baby breaths and the sucking sound of the pacifier. He’s content. So am I. I rock back and forth with him in my arms thinking about the day and thinking about this moment. I am all too aware that soon the day will come where I won’t rock him before bed. One day he will climb in all by himself. He won’t need these last few minutes of the day with me. Not like this at least. I need to check on the others, need to work on dinner, need to do so much. But I don’t. Instead I stay. Because five more minutes doesn’t matter.
Five more minutes doesn’t matter to us. The world will not stop in those five minutes. We won’t really miss anything. We won’t really be that late. Things aren’t really as urgent as they seem. But those five minutes? They matter to them. To our children, those five minutes are powerful. They are a memory, a moment, and a feeling that will stay with them long after those five minutes have passed. To them those five minutes matter the most.
As summer approaches I will be holding on to this as my mantra. The truth is, however, this should be my mantra forever. I’m signing off for the summer and committing myself to living fully in those precious five minutes. I’ll be back with you in the fall. Wishing each one of you a happy, healthy, joy-filled summer.
Find the joy~
*Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a consultation.