I have become increasingly aware, as of late, of many of my parental short comings. I can't count the number of times this week that I have been convicted of caring more about my to-do list, and the things I "need" to get done, than I have the well-being of my children. So often, when they fight, I yell at them to stop, to be quiet, to CUT IT OUT ALREADY...wanting my own peace above all else. Caring more about having a calm house than taking the time to deal with the issues of their hearts...yelling, instead of speaking calmly, snapping, instead of listening patiently.
Yesterday, I had an agenda. Clean the house. Take off the recycling. Plan the week and the meals. Get groceries. But I had two sick children who wanted nothing more than to be snuggled and comforted by me. I immediately felt frustrated. How could I possibly get this house clean with two children crying and clinging to me?! Then I read this. I closed my computer, and held my baby close as the tears fell freely on top of his little fuzzy head. That post changed the whole tone of my day. I did get some housework done, while the baby slept. But I went out of my way to include my clingy two year old. We had a wonderful time together, and he was happy to be included. I didn't get as much done as if I had done it alone...but it was sweet time with my little boy, and the dishes will still be there tomorrow...but he won't be a baby for long. I am reminded of a poem that a friend has in her house.
Dusting and sweeping can wait 'til tomorrow.
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.
Sunday night, during church, I was looking at my five year old, sitting with my parents a few rows in front of me. My husband, seeing the direction of my gaze, whispered in my ear "can you believe that almost a third of our time with him is gone? It has gone by in a flash, hasn't it?" I looked at him in disbelief. I counted on my fingers. It is true. If he leaves the house at 18, then almost a full third of our time with him has already passed. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.
Today, I read this gentle post. Unimaginable. We don't know how long we will have our children with us. It might be many years. Or it may only be today. Either way, I must seize the time I have with them, taking every moment captive to teach and train and love them. This has been heavy on my heart lately. Of course, it is important to clean the house, to do the laundry, to cook dinner. But if I do it without loving those I am doing it for, it means nothing.