Eating lunch with my two year old is the highlight of my days at home with him. We discuss our post-nap plans, talk about dinosaurs and our trips to the park and hold after-lunch-dessert negotiations. Last week as I sat across from him listening to the day’s campaign strategy about why he needs a handful of M&Ms and watching as he fed his dinosaurs imaginary dino food from his plate, it hit me.
I stared at his sweet little peanut butter and jelly stained face, his tiny dimpled chin just barely grazing the top of the kitchen table, and I suddenly had the humbling realization that some day I’m going to blink and he’s going to be taller than me. He’s going to scarf down two or three sandwiches instead of hardly finishing half like he does now. He’s going to eat and run out the door to meet his friends, snatching his car keys off the counter on his way out.
It made me remember a line from the letter my mom wrote me on my wedding day. “The laundry can wait.” Right then, I made a promise to myself. I vowed to stop trying to do everything all at once and be present for these precious moments with my babies while they’re still babies. The dishes will still be there in an hour … or tomorrow. The dust and dog hair on my floor are going to seemingly regenerate immediately no matter how many times I sweep. I told myself I’d try harder to get up before they do to get a jump on some household chores because the half hour of missed sleep means I get to sit down and discuss our favorite dinosaurs over a plate of chicken tenders and sliced grapes. I get to slow down for a little bit and just be with my little ones and if there is one thing having a toddler – and now a newborn – has taught me, it’s that being present is much more than enough.
So at risk of becoming just another voice in the constant buzz in a new mom’s ear, I’d like to pass-on what I’ve learned from my toddler, because sometimes the tiniest voices are the loudest (As a “#boymom,” I mean that both literally and figuratively.) He doesn’t care if our windows are clouded with handprints or the smudges from him making silly, smoosh faces on the glass. He doesn’t care if we do Pinterest-worthy activities or if every meal we have is home cooked and healthy.
What he wants is for me to sit down, device and distraction free, and talk about how many horns the rhino at the zoo has (it’s “one, two, four horns” in case you’re wondering.) He wants to help me make brownies and change his baby brother’s diaper. Because for a child, being present is enough. Sharing a meal is enough. Holding him and reading “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” for the 357th time is enough. Let your time, your attention and yourself be enough my fellow mamas. Wrap your arms around them and hold on tight while they’re still tiny. Tickle them, tell them stories, kiss the cheeks off their little faces and, for Heaven’s sake …. The laundry can wait.