Lately, certain slight annoyances that I experience have led me to the thought, “Some day I’m going to miss this.” Jordan, my eight-year-old, runs up to everyone in the house (animals included) to give a goodbye kiss and a hug so she can go across the street to play with friends. It won’t be hours away from home, and sometimes the girls are even running around the courtyard to be seen continually by all of us, but leaving the confines of the house without the ritual is simply not an option for her.
When any of us are leaving for anywhere, even just to the bank for fifteen minutes, this ritual must take place in order for the universe to continue its steady course. Quite cute, actually, until you’re late for an appointment and she’s rushing across the street because she sees us heading for the car as we call out our goodbyes. Those extra few minutes seem like a lifetime in our hectic world of schedules and time constraints, but we must wait. The consequences just aren’t worth it. Besides the flood of tears and traumatic over-acting that would certainly occur should we ignore her pleas, who could turn down that sweet face, even in the busiest of moments?
In those times of hurried exasperation, I remind myself, “What would I do without this?” All too soon, my eight-year-old will be an eighteen-year-old. Will she still run to give me and her dad and sister (and dog and cat) a kiss and a hug before going out? Will she stand at the door with a sad and hurt look on her face because Daddy didn’t know she was awakened by his peck on the forehead before he left for work and she hadn’t the chance to give him the hug that should always follow the kiss? Doubtful. I will just have to miss it and hope that at least one of her children will be just like her and know me well enough to not want to let me go anywhere without following protocol.
In a like moment, yesterday afternoon my husband came home donning a bag. “I brought these home, one for each of the girls,” and into the kitchen sink plopped two rubber horseshoes. Not an everyday item around our house (or anyone else’s that we know, mind you). They were interesting enough. But did they have to be in the kitchen sink? And are you saying we have to keep them now? Hmm … I mused as I watched him scour them with a bleach cleaner, getting out all the muck. How long has it been since he did the dishes, and yet—okay, I can’t go there. Look at it from God’s eyes, I told myself. What diligence for his children … I could not wish for more, no matter the immediate nuisance at dinnertime. Because some day I’m going to miss this and, God willing, that will be a very long time from now.
Sometimes it’s a difficult thing to see past what we think are the immediate needs of the moment. Being a parent does not afford us the luxury of “a place for everything and everything in its place” on a 24/7 basis. Nor does it mean we will be on time for everything. I am, most times, a painfully organized and punctual person who is learning that slowly. Hopefully, I will have it down before my kids resent my insurmountable need to be neat and tidy and timely. Although it is my desire to have a clean house that’s always ready for company, I’m finding more of a need to relax and allow the rubber horseshoes to reside for a day or two in my kitchen sink. Maybe even hang around the front door long enough for two kisses and hugs before I rush off to the grocery store. The long-range implications are big for the little moments that were passed off as nuisances, because I’m quite sure that some day I am certainly going to miss them.