Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the beauty around us. Work has kept me so busy, that I’ve hardly had time to observe my children. I have hugged them and held them and played with them, but not nearly enough. I’ve dealt with more fits, whining, and meltdowns than smiles, hugs, and snuggles. Working almost 24/7 leads to very little actual time for appreciation of the good times. In fact, all I got to see was that window of time that they were tired and cranky. Not fun. I needed a rediscovery to find my happy place again.
Well, deadlines have passed, work slowed down for a moment, and Thanksgiving break came. Finally, I got a chance to take a moment and see my children. The past couple of days, I have played with them, held them, talked to them, watched them play, and even relaxed around them. They’ve thrown fits still, had meltdowns, hit each other, screamed, torn things up, and done all of the same things they usually do with the same intensity. The difference is that I have also gotten the time to enjoy them. The rediscovery of how joyful my children make me feel makes all the difference.
I’ve watched them play together delightfully in the back yard. Squeaker runs through the yard with reckless abandon and Big Guy follows behind him, his short legs carrying him as fast as they’ll allow. Their faces carry different expressions. Squeaker’s face shows determination and purpose. Big Guy’s face shows pure jubilation. It says a lot about their personalities. One plays with a specific purpose in mind. The other plays just for the pure joy of playing. Either way, both enjoy the time spent outside and coexist perfectly together. Every now and then, you’ll see them find something in the yard and marvel at it together. Or, Squeaker will spontaneously tickle Big Guy, and they’ll both break out into over-the-top laughter. It’s beautiful.
This morning, I watched Word World with Big Guy wrapped in my arms. I covered his little legs with a blanket and just enjoyed having him close to me. These moments don’t happen nearly as often as they used to. I watched him bite his nails–a newly formed habit, and a sign that he’s growing into more than a toddler. He won’t stay this little forever. I held him closer, his face against mine, and then kissed his cheek. He gave me his irrepressible grin, took my hand, and kissed it, palm up. Every once in a while, I still get to hold Squeaker close, and I still cherish those precious minutes, every one of them. His legs get a little longer every time; he gets a little harder to fit in my lap. Even so, I hold him tight and run my fingers through hair that no longer feels baby soft. I see them growing, and I know that I must hold them while I can.
I see the past few days as a rediscovery of my children. It’s not that I didn’t know they existed or that I didn’t know I loved them. No; I’ve simply had the opportunity to see, once again, the preciousness of time with them. And as I read them their bedtime stories, hug them, and kiss them goodnight, I know that these routines are too important to give up. As tired as we get at the end of the day, that last hug and kiss as we send them off to sleep means the world to them. In truth, my night would be incomplete without them. I don’t know if they’ll let us give them hugs and kisses before bed forever, but I’ll certainly try.
Most importantly, I vow to carve out time for them every day so I can get in those snuggles while they’ll still let me have them.