I’ll Stay Here

A friend of ours drove by us the other day while we were out on a walk. Just me and J headed to check the mail. We had left the house because he was screaming and interrupting the big kids as they tried to enjoy their library books. It was 4:30pm, and it was the beginning of his end. He was tired. I was frazzled. We both needed fresh air.

She pulled up to say hello. She had just picked up her older kids. Their afternoon was just beginning. We talked. No one interrupted her from the backseat. She was able to complete every sentence. She looked cute and put together. We talked a few more minutes, and then they headed off to study for tests and begin the hours of homework that waited for them.

In that moment of being exhausted, of needing to get out of the house, of counting down the hours until bedtime, I realized that I actually wasn’t ready for things to change. I don’t want to give up this chubby little hand in mine holding on tightly as we walk to check the mail. I don’t want to give up the fact that he loves looking at the flowers and naming each neighbor’s house as we pass. I don’t even want to give up the fact that I have to lug his heavy little body home because the mailbox is just too far to walk when you are 2. Combine that with his head on my shoulder and his arms around my neck, and it made me want to push pause forever. It made me want to stay right where I am, right here, right now.

I know nights full of homework are coming. I know evenings will one day be full of juggling different activities and staggered dinners. I know one day I will walk to the mail box by myself, just me, without anyone holding my hand. I know that one day they will need me less, and I’ll have the moments to myself that I dream about.

But right now? Right now, I’ll stay here. Don’t get me wrong—“Here” is hard. It’s exhausting. It stretches me beyond every limit I thought I had. It’s also wonderful. It’s magical, and it’s filled with joy. And love. And chaos. And it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.

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 http://smallhandsbigsteps.com/contact/ for more information or to schedule a consultation.