I inwardly groaned. The most boring game to play, let alone watch on the face of the planet!! I wanted to think of an excuse…think of one, heck, I had a billion things to do that beat out watching my son build this virtual building that gets randomly ruined by dragons or something.
No matter how many times he tries to explain it to me, I have no idea the purpose of this game.
But, he's my son and he wants to spend time with me and he's almost 9 and what if I say no and he figures out I don’t want to play this game and he never asks me to watch him play again?
“Yeah, baby, I’ll watch for a little while.”
“Yay! Thanks mommy.”
He’s still little in many ways.
But he is so big.
And he still wants me.
And it hurts.
“Mommy will you play Barbie with me? I know you are busy, but will you play with me. I’ll help you clean the dishes later?”
Her words tear at me. I’m about to break into tiny pieces, because my girl is bargaining with me for just a little bit of time.
Yes, mommy’s busy.
I’m always busy.
You know it; you've heard me say it over and over again. And in that you have come to understand in your own precious head that therefore, mommy is too busy to play Barbies.
I smile down at her through my hidden tears and say yes, because 'God, what’s the point of being with my children day in and day out if I don’t take advantage of the time you have given me and put aside all the to do’s and just simply sit and watch and play and party with Barbie?'
Her face lights up at my yes and she gathers her dolls and we sit and play and pretend.
She makes me laugh and I tell her I love playing with her.
She hugs me and says, “Thank you for playing with me mommy. I know you have a lot to do, but I love when you play with me.”
She notices everything.
She is sensitive and bright and see’s all my shortcomings and truths and it scares me to no end because I can’t hide any of my mess from her observant blue eyes.
I reply, “Baby, all I have to do can wait. I will play with you anytime.”
She hugs me and goes on her way.
Does she believe me?
Do I believe me?
“Mommy hold me. Mama sit,” she says. I oblige, for just a second. She cradles herself in my lap, my 'no longer baby, but not quite a big girl.' Her dingy pink blanket in her arms and her thumb in her mouth, she places her head on my chest and we watch Elmo. A text comes in, I pick up my phone to read it, push send and then see an email notification. I click the mail tab and she takes the phone and says, “No phone mama,” and puts the phone down.
She’s right. The email can wait because she’s no longer a baby, but not quite a big girl and will only be so for another minute more.
She wants me. All of me.
And she’s worth all of me.
Everything else can wait.
They want me now. They need me now.
It’s hard because I’m not use to being needed and wanted so much and so strongly and all the time.
It goes against my introverted ways.
It goes against my selfish wants.
I close my eyes and I see these babies in my arms. These tiny, precious children who cried for me to fill their tummies in the night and who toddled toward me with arms wide opened every time I returned home. Small ones who constantly asked for one more story before bed and one more minute before I kissed them goodnight.
And they still need me…but its slowly starting to wane.
Part of me is thrilled. They serve their own breakfast cereal and put away dishes and tie shoes and shower and dress…
This season is almost over.
Babyhood and toddlerhood are almost gone.
Those days that were long and sleepless are mostly done.
In its stead I find half grown children who need me less, but want me still.
So I’m going to give in to this new season.
I’m resolved to do so, because we know time doesn't wait.
And I can’t wait or slow down or blink, because it too will be over soon.
I will say yes more. I will play. I will watch. I will read. I will sit. I will wait. I will love. I will be present.
I want to say yes.
I have to say yes.
I want to put aside all the need to’s and got to’s and be present in my children’s lives.
Parenting is hard. There are days when you are pulled and stretched. There are days when you don’t think you can handle the little people constantly needing, asking, touching, whining and wanting.
One of the most difficult challenges I have faced in this parenting journey is saying yes.
There are so many factors involved and so many decisions to be made regarding your children and many times I find myself saying no when I should say yes and many times my answers are based not on what is best for my children, but on my own selfish desires.
But I want to say yes.
I have to say yes.
How will I say yes more?
1. I’ll say yes when it’s more inconvenient. I’ll say yes when it takes too much time. I’ll say yes to art projects that will be more of a mess than anything else. I'll say yes to playing outside when it’s 100 degrees. I’ll say yes to watching a video game and barbies and Elmo.
2. I’ll say yes and let go of all excuses. Yes, because so what if there is laundry to do and so what if it looks like rain and so what if that only makes for more laundry! It’s just clothes and they are just kids for so long.
3. I’ll say yes even when I don’t feel like it. They are worth it, no matter how tired or stressed or busy. And tonight, more than likely, no one will wake up and I will be able to rest well because those days are slowly passing away.
I will take hold of these days now. I’m finally figuring out that time does fly and kids do grow up and seasons shift and change. It's a fact and it's true and it hurts.
But, they still want me.
Sometimes you need to say yes more than no. Sometimes yes makes a huge difference and that yes to playing Skylanders, even though it bores the daylights out of you, softens a heart and connects you and yours.
“Mommy can I have chocolate milk?” she asks in one of her daddy’s shirts with hair still wet from her bath.
“No, its time for bed.”
She walks away dissapointed.
Why didn't I say yes?
I get her My Little Pony cup and pour in a little milk and a bit of chocolate and stir.
I take it to my bedroom where her daddy is brushing her wet curls.
I hand her the cup and she looks up at me delighted and says, “But I thought you said no.”
“I did, but I love you, so I said yes instead.”
You are His Beloved,
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