Thursday, June 12, 2008

Make moments....at all costs

I've had a hard week.

Circumstances of the last few days, which I will choose not to divulge here but have nothing to do with what you may think, have given me a lot to think about this week. But, those same circumstances which I have tried so desperately to make go away have given me a new outlook on things. They have changed how I view things, how I see people--specifically my own children.

I have felt such deep feelings of love for my boys this week; feelings that are always there, but are usually hiding deep inside, and don't necessarily come to the surface that often. This week, simply just looking at the sweet faces of Cameron, or Ethan, or Colin invites tears to actually spring to my eyes because of the love that is there in my heart for these precious little guys.

Those tears are there now, actually.

Those feelings have made me a better mommy.

I have done things in the past four days that I don't normally do.....and I think my boys and our relationships with each other are that much sweeter because of it.

We've gone outside of our norm.

When I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, and my words were literally slurring together as I struggled to stay awake, and Cameron asked, "Just one more book Mommy?"

Instead of the normal, "Sorry buddy, it's time for bed", I said, "Okay."

When all I wanted to do after a busy morning of VBS was go home, clean up the absolute wreck we call our home moderately messy house from that morning (because we had rushed out by 8:30 to get to there and had had no time for any of the normal 'morning clean-up') and the boys asked me--2 days in a row--"Please, please could Brooklyn (first day)/Chloe and Wyatt (second day) come home with us to play in the sprinkler? Please?"

Instead of "Sorry, guys, we need to go home, clean up, have lunch and rest time", I said, "Okay, sure!" with a smile on my face. And, I turned on the sprinkler in our already soaking wet, squishy yard for these 5 unbelievably cute children sporting nothing but their undies. The house remained a mess, but the children's laughs were too many to count.

Such simple joys when you are four (or under).

And today, when we passed Old McDonald's (as the boys have always called it) and Colin asked me, "Can we please stop and play there on the slides?"

I groaned....I absolutely hate that germ-infested, just-asking-for-a-virus-when-you-go-there playland...but I turned down the next street, flipped the car around, and we went back. Colin couldn't believe it. He, I think, was absolutely in shock, simply due to the number of times he has been shot down when asking to go to Old McDonalds and play. This time I was actually saying yes? What?!?

"Are we going through just to get something to eat?" he said.

"Noooooooooo....."

"Are we going in to eat?" he said.

"Noooooooooo...."

"Are we going in to play?!?" he said.

"Yeeeeeessssss!"

Insert about 42 squeals/laughs here.

We got out, went in, and the boys played. For a long time. I even climbed a few tunnels with sweet baby Ethan! (Yeah.....it was gross.) We washed hands for like, 3 minutes each....and then used the hand sanitizer *giggle*, and then we actually went to a booth inside the restaraunt.

Colin and Cameron each got a happy meal--their first ever. I mean, every mom knows that you can feed a family a lot cheaper at those places by ordering the extra value meals and splitting them between everyone, right? At least, that's what we always do. One french fry, ginormous-sized, for everyone, with 5 different napkins on which to portion out each share!

But, today was a different day. They got real happy meals, complete with a fun box, their own drink, and their own set of fries.....and a TOY.

"My own bag of fries!" exclaimed Colin, smiling from ear to ear as he pulled them out of the box.

Ah, the world was nearly perfect in the eyes of a child.

We sat, and ate calmly and happily--all four of us. It was a wonderful time with just me and them. I rarely brave these sort of situations without Shane, simply for crowd control reasons. Three against one is by no definition an easy task! It was out of my norm....but, today, I was so glad I did it. It is a memory that is locked in my brain now, in a very special place.

But has this Mommy lost her marbles?

Of course not. I did not write all of this to say or even remotely imply that giving in to a child's every whim and desire is the key to having a happy child or happy parents. In fact, I personally believe the exact opposite. The fact that I have said no to Colin 184 times when he has asked to stop at Old McDonald's and play is the very reason why he was so ecstatic when we did stop today.

I have missed too many memories for the sake of clean laundry. Too many smiles in the name of no dust or clean floors. Too many teachable moments due to my own lack of patience. Too many nighttime or naptime cuddles because there was so much on my own agenda that needed to be completed.

As I type, the house is still a mess (by my standards). I'm sure there is an end in sight....somewhere. But, as EVERY mom knows, just when all of the laundry is all washed, dried, folded, and actually put away, another basketful comes right behind it. Just when the dining room floor is free of all bits of food, another meal is eaten and it's half covered in crumbs all over again. Our jobs as housekeepers--literally the keepers of our homes--is never ending. But it is our jobs as Moms and what we do with and for our children that will be our legacy.

Every Mother's Day, people give testimonies in church about their moms. Many of those moms are gone now....and they cry as they say things like, "She was such a good listener." "She was always there when I needed a friend." "She sacrificed so many things for me." "She always stopped whatever she was doing to help me if I needed it." "I'm so thankful for the quality time I had with my mother." "She taught me about Jesus." Not once have I ever heard a testimony of, "She kept everything so clean.....our house was always spotless.....the laundry was always done." And I don't suspect I ever will.

When your 2-year-old puts his arms around you and says, "You my best friend, Mommy!" it makes the dirt seem much less apparent.

Most days, we do stick to a routine, and it benefits everyone. But going outside the norm is good every once in a while, too. Don't miss those precious moments with your children. We truly don't know how many more God will allow us to have with them.

Today was my due date with #4.

9 comments:

The Other Julie said...

Great post Devin! It is so hard to sweep away the moments you could have! Last week after an extra long day of errands I stopped home dropped off the frozen groceries and took the kids to the park that they have been dying to go to. We skipped naps and everything! It felt great to do something special for them, but I really should do it more. Thanks inspiring me to try a little harder!

My 'date' is coming up in a few weeks, maybe I'll spend a great day with the kids like you did and add a good memory to the day. What a better way to honor our lost ones by spending it better with the ones we have.

Rog & Aimee said...

oh how so thankful you must be to have little ones to share this day with. May the Lord be glorified by your actions and thoughts today!
love you guys and miss ya!

Momma x5 said...

I absolutely loved reading this. Beautiful. You ought to double post it on Pancakes & Pinesol---you have such a way with words and this is something ALL mothers struggle with: I loved your perspective, and LOVED that you had a day or two of those 'other' things!! My heart goes out to you since it's the due date of your fourth. I believe one day we'll still have a chance to love, snuggle, and raise those who've gone too quickly to do it here. Hugs!!

Steph said...

Great post. I'm finding that with the start of summer - my sanity is leaving me! :) We love the sunshine and the outdoor activities but it is adding to the chaos of my house which makes me feel like I'm dropping a ball.
But you are so right. The kids aren't going to care about a spotless house - they are going to care about an attentive mom.
Hugs to you on a very meaningful day!

Kirst said...

Wow you've made me really think. I too feel everything you have said. I am constantly reminding myself that having a clean house is not what it's about. I love spending time with my kids and love the carefree days.
Prayers for you and Shane as you think about today.
Thanks for that post.

bookworm said...

I hope yesterday was a day of peace and blessing for you.

Thanks for the encouragement you give me--through posts like this and the comments over on my blog, as well as through prayer....

In Him,
Hannah

Kara said...

Thanks for the crying...you should have a disclaimer for hormonal women like me at the top! I totally needed this reminder today. I too try to stop and cherish these moments, that is why I am at home to spend these times with the boys. But I do love a schedule and a routine, but God has shown me how to relax a little! I am praying for you today and hoping you have more wonderful moments with your boys!

Merritts said...

Dev,
What a great post! So true that there will always be laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc... but if you blink you miss out on important things that you could be doing instead of being "busy". I'm sure it was a tough day yesterday! We love you!

Julie said...

Oh Devin -
Your post left me with tears in my eyes...AND a smile on my face! It's nice to read about other moms who face the same stuff I do. And it's a good reminder of what's really important in life, too!!

Hope you are doing well today!