I can remember when we had our first child, a son. I would take in every little movement and smile. We would spend hours just marveling at everything he did and every sound he made.
Then, along came the second, a girl. There was still a newness to her little, beautiful self. She was different in some ways from our son, but we were starting to be too busy to notice. Because, if you’re a parent, you know that having two makes for a whole lot more work than just one.
After the third, a girl, I started to find myself rushing around. I wasn’t noticing every little coo and squeak. I wasn’t appreciating her smiles, or stopping to marvel at the way her eyes lit up when she saw me or her mom.
I was just trying to get everything on my to-do list done. Feed the kids-check. Put them down for nap-check. Do the laundry-check. Give them all baths-check.
What I wasn’t doing, was appreciating them. Because I know that before long they’ll be grown and gone. Before long, I won’t have these sweet little faces demanding that I look at what they’re doing. They won’t be begging me, “daddy, I want a hundred kisses.” They’ll just prefer me to leave them alone to do their own thing, and “No, I don’t want a hug and kiss, daddy.”
So, I’ve started putting down the laundry. It can surely wait a few more minutes while I give these precious children the attention they crave.
I’ve put away my phone/iPad/laptop, because there’s not room enough in my life for devices and kids at the same time. And, let’s face it, Twitter can wait!
I’ve stopped furiously chasing the “get it done faster” so I can chase more of the “drink in the present moment because it’s so fleeting”.
Now, I notice that my son is becoming such a sweet young man. That he is developing this great, inquisitive personality that makes him ask questions about everything and of everyone. I can slow down and just enjoy how well he interacts with other adults and children.
I can see, as I drink in the moment, that my middle daughter just yearns for her dad’s affection. That the least little bit of my attention lights up her face.
The baby girl is something else entirely. As I pause and just look at her, I appreciate this cute little thing she does where she sticks her tongue out a little when she smiles. And, my goodness, how she smiles!
Sometimes, I forget to slow down, and I catch myself getting frustrated with trying to complete all my tasks. And, I get short with the kids.
But, they don’t let me get away with it for too long before their repetitive pleas for my attention call me back to the moment.
The laundry goes back into the basket. The dishes go back into the sink. My phone goes back to its place of exile.
What’s most important in life is staring me in the face again, and their faces are beautiful to me.