It’s 8:30 at night. I just finished tucking my 4 children into bed. We read stories, sang songs and prayed before I turned out the light. I placed blankets on each one, kissed tiny cheeks and foreheads and said “good night.” As I stepped out of their room, quietly shutting the door behind me, I scanned the house to see what needed to be picked up and put away before I could sit down and relax for the evening. All around me were tiny little reminders of what happened during our day:
The joyful moments.
The moments of curiosity and wonder and “mommy, I got it!”
The frustrating moments and time spent in time-out.
The mundane moments that passed without any attention paid.
Board books were scattered all over the bathroom floor next to a tiny toddler potty. A reminder of a two year old who was so good all day about making it to the potty on time and who would sometimes just sit there and “read” books for a while, because she could.
A bee in a dish on the table, next to a magnifying glass, and a sketch book full of bug drawings with crayons spilled all over. A reminder of two little boys who were so excited to study a real life bug up close that they had been learning about in a book.
Matchbox cars lined up, all the way around the fireplace hearth. A reminder of children who spent the morning on the floor, sometimes playing well together, sometimes arguing over who got that one special truck, regardless of the fact that they have over a hundred cars and trucks to choose from.
A baby bouncer in the kitchen. A reminder of the sweet little babe, who is now fast asleep in her crib, who with her big beautiful round eyes, watched me as I washed dishes all day, as I made meal after meal for her brothers and sister and as I swept for the 376th time this week.
A pink hat on the floor. A reminder of a spunky little girl who insisted on wearing that hat and wearing it backwards for our outings this morning. I tried to clip her bangs back and brush her hair, but she insisted on wearing that hat instead. And rather than fighting her over it, because we need to pick and choose our battles, I let her exercise her will and wear it.
(And I’m grateful for her tenacity and strong will.)
Then there’s the chapter book sitting on the coffee table. A reminder that I didn’t make time for us to cuddle up together on the couch, to read together and share giggles. But a reminder that tomorrow is a new day, with new opportunities and a new chance for me to be intentional. A reminder of what is truly important and that it’s okay to let the not-as-important things go so that these sweet children of mine know that I love and care for them dearly.
At the end of the day, these tiny little reminders remind me of one important thing: all of those moments put together, the joyful ones and the sad ones and the frustrating ones and the mundane ones, make up my children’s entire childhoods. And they each only get one childhood.
So tomorrow, I’m going to read with them on the couch. I’m going to giggle with them. I’m going to be intentional about getting down on their level. Because tomorrow is a new day to make new memories with my tiny little people.