Typical night. We were deep in the trenches of trying to get 3 young children settled and in bed. Never the easiest of tasks. My husband and I usually divide and conquer. I headed into the baby’s room to put him to bed, but before I left I reminded M of her list of things to do. “Pajamas, clothes for tomorrow, and teeth,” I called out over my shoulder as I bounced a fussy baby and headed towards his room.
I collapsed into the chair and started feeding J. My own to do list immediately began scrolling through my head as I thought of the long list of tasks I still had to finish after everyone was in bed. I drifted off absentmindedly planning which thing I would complete first when M burst into the room. This in itself was slightly frustrating to me. Baby J can’t eat when she is around because he is so captivated by whatever she is doing. They have quite the bond. Feedings tend to last much longer whenever that precious thing is around, and that night especially I just wanted to get things done.
“Mommy,” she announced. “I finished getting dressed all by myself, brushed my teeth and my hair, and cleaned up my room! Isn’t that just great?!” she said with a big smile.
“It is.” I responded. “Now please go lay out your clothes for tomorrow.”
She turned to leave, this 5 year old little sprite in her fairy pajamas, and as she left I thought “I missed it.”
I missed the opportunity to celebrate a moment with her. A moment that felt small to me but that was significant to her. A moment that she came bounding across the hall to share with me, her mommy, her one and only. A moment that I received as one more thing I had to respond to instead to her felt like a surge of pride, independence, and accomplishment. And I missed it. I didn’t miss it by much. A simple “Wow. You worked so hard to get all those things done.” would have sufficed. Or even “Great work M! I’m proud of you” would have done the trick. I was, however, tired and just trying to move things along and in doing that I missed the moment.
These are precious moments with our young children. They are filled with so much emotion, so much love, and so much sacrifice. We construct them in these day to day moments. We affirm them. We lift them up. We teach them about their own abilities, their own sense of self-worth, their own super powers. I’m so grateful for the fact that M is resilient and forgiving. I’m thankful that it didn’t seem to affect her as much as it affected me. I’m so glad she reminded me, that little fairy, that she deserves my all in every moment. My all matters to her, and she matters to me more than anything.
I don’t want to miss anymore moments. I’ll put the to do list aside. It’s not going anywhere. I’ll choose to be present and to respond with intention. It’s my responsibility as a mom, and in that, I want to succeed.
Find the joy~