My busy day begins at 5:30 AM. I rush towards the shower and the coffeemaker. My only goal is to get ready for work fast and quietly. Why? Well, because I have two crazy and adventurous daughters who wake up wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to tackle the day with each another. My only goal is to get them out of the house fast and sufficient. The longer we linger, the more likely a meltdown and chaos will ensue. My youngest quickly runs into the kitchen while I’m in a robe with hair soaking wet. She smiles and reaches for a cuddle while I pour a large cup of coffee. My schedule is packed and now time is ticking to get these kiddos out the door and to school on time, barring any major bathroom breakdowns or missing sock situations. I quickly hug my five-year-old and rush her to the table for breakfast. I shove off the opportunity to squeeze her tightly. I miss out on the chance to wipe her sleepy eyes and pinch her chubby cheeks and breathe in her smell.
Her hug was an invitation. An invitation to soak up the moment. An invitation to rest and to be present with her.
After a busy non-stop day at the office. My real job begins when I punch out of work at 5 PM. I race home with my to-do list on my mind. I text my husband the Pinterest recipe and ask what homework has been accomplished. In my five-minute commute from work to home, I manage to call in a prescription refill and add a few groceries to the shared list. I enter the door, gears turning and guns blazing. We have approximately three hours before bedtime and so very much to do. Dinner, dishes, long division, and baths are just the tip of the iceberg on the perpetual to-do list. Before I can sit down my work bag and take off my coat, my nine-year-old is screaming, “Mom, look at my amazing fort. Mom, come see it on the inside. Hurry!” I take a quick look in and I half-heartily offer my pleasure with a lame, “Good job, babe” as I rush to the kitchen to prep for that Pinterest-worthy meal I am about to overcook. I pass up the opportunity to praise my daughter’s creativity and celebrate her small victory.
Her pillow fort was an invitation. An invitation to soak up the moment. An opportunity to see the world through the lens of a child. An invitation to rest and celebrate with her creativity.
The kids have settled in for their evening screen time as it is nearing 9 PM. The kids are clean, teeth brushed, and lunches are packed. My kitchen is clean, and the dogs have been out. I quickly sit down at the kitchen table with my phone and computer to research next week’s meal plan. Or maybe I just want to stroll through Instagram to numb my mind. I am quickly brought back to reality when I hear my daughters in unison, “Hey Mom, come cuddle on the couch.” My response falls out of my mouth before I can take a breath. “Sorry babes, I need to check my emails.” A collective sigh and wine resonate from the living room when I hear, “Hey Mom, just for five minutes. Please?”
The couch cuddles are an invitation. An invitation to soak up the moment. To feel their wiggly toes and smell their freshly washed hair. An invitation to rest and be near my children.
How many “Not right nows” or “Maybe laters” have I used to give up time with my children? The work day will always drag me away from my babies that are no longer babies. The ways of this world will always pull me away from the connection. The daily distractions will always attempt to steal these tiny moments of peace, of presence. My unwritten agenda and the busyness of life will always attempt to take away my invitation. My invitation to be, to exist, to breathe only in that moment.
Every “mommy look” is an invitation. Will you kindly accept or decline?