Thursday, November 15, 2012

With Them

The house was finally quiet. My kids were asleep. I paused to mentally review the day, and I came to a startling realization: I hadn't played with my kids that day. I had taken them to story time at the library, and I had read their books to them. But I hadn't taken a moment to instigate a tickle war, twirl them in the air, or race around the house giving them boisterous piggyback rides. I hadn't drunk in their laughter or breathed in deeply the beauty of their smiles. I hadn't really looked at them or been with them. They had played together happily all day, and I had been busy with household tasks. I had missed out.

So the next morning I was delighted to see a light dusting of snow on the ground. I helped Jake suit up to go play. I listened to him talk about the snowman family he was going to build in the yard. (I didn't tell him that such a humble fall offering wouldn't even make one snowman.) I smiled as Abby chattered about how excited she was to eat some snow (a beloved pastime she picked up last year.) I laughed as I watched Grace try a few handfuls of snow herself.

Later that week I enjoyed watching Abby pretend, listening to Jake tell me about his Lincoln Logs, and playing peek-a-boo with Grace.
I also endured a tantrum or two and witnessed lots of opportunities to encourage little people to apologize and try again. But small moments of misery are the price we pay to experience the joy of children, right? Next year Jake will be in first grade and I won't have as many opportunities to watch him build snowmen, push his little snow shovel all over our yard and sidewalk, or pull his sisters on a sled. Every day they get bigger, learn something new, grow older. While they are home, I want to be with them. Laugh with them. Play with them. Listen to them. Love them.

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