It’s the head-thrown-back-uninhibited laughter that I’ll miss.

The giggles and the demands for more tickles.
“Go…[giggle]…stop…[giggle]…go…stop…go…stop…”

We play this game every day. They are the best minutes strung in
a sequence that I can imagine.

We can’t play it for too long because the giggling is exhausting.

I still get excited to pick you up from school.
Your eyes light up when you see me, and you run through the hallway and squeal, “Mama, Mama, Mama!” jumping into my arms to slide down and cling to my leg.

Heavily, I drag my child-laden leg over to where your coat hangs covered in dirt from a day of playing outside.

I don’t want to rush these moments. Yes, we have to gather your things and head to the car but these tiny moments only last for a few seconds. I don’t want to accidentally brush past them in an effort to get to the next-thing-we-must-do.

Today, I don’t want to do things we “have” to do, I want to do whatever you “want” to do. I want us to take our time, no stress, no whining.

I imagine a day without bickering, without fuss, without tears.

I want you to fall asleep tonight because we played so hard together.

Because we had time to sit together and have silly conversations about dogs walking their owners. Because we talked all about the things that 4-year-olds notice but sleepy adults like me miss because we are too busy shepherding the troops to the next activity, to the next thing.

“Come on, let’s buckle up.
Don’t forget your gloves.
Where is your backpack?
Come on, if we don’t hurry, we’ll be late, and we can’t be late.”

I’m tired of the constant reminding which turns into nagging which results in whining.

My attention is divided.

Long division or calculus, I’m not sure, but my attention as a person, a mother, a partner is divided unequally.

Sometimes, I feel really engaged, really present, but more often than not, I’m on auto-pilot. Trying to get through the day and next thing I realize, it’s Friday again, and I’m wondering what happened to the week.

How many moments, glances, calls for “Mama” did I tune out? 80%? 65%? How many times is acceptable?

I am spoiled. I am privileged. I am aware of how lucky I am. How fortunate. And yet, I still struggle to feel fully engaged with my kids.

Unable to let go of the daily stressors, unable to turn off my brain, unable to throw my head back and laugh like you do.

I’m sure I’ll get it right, but until then I’ll soak up the tiny moments.

The head-thrown-back-laughing moments in between the daily craziness will need to get me through the week.

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2 Comments

  • Margaret Howland

    That;s life, my lovely granddaughter. You are unique as a mother, did you know that? How many of us went through life only rarely, if ever, stopping to think, about all the times we ignore, don’t participate, scold, or worse, with our children? Too many of us, too many times. Oh to be able to do it all over! I’d promise to do it better! You are doing far better, because you are aware, you do reflect, you do make time to giggle. So much love to you all., to you and to Jon, and to Calvin and Lucy, who giggle, sing, read stories, tell other stories, run, play, hug, snuggle, and all the rest.

    • Thanks, Grandma. I am trying hard(er), constantly, always to be more present when I’m with the kids but it’s nearly an impossible task. It involves me reframing what I think I “need” to do and considering the “needs” of my kids instead. I’m not sure I can be an entirely present mother, freelancer, and partner so perhaps I’m taking on too much but I’m sure a lot of other mothers feel this way. Better to vent it out than allow it to stew inside.

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