Kids give it their all. Everything. Whatever they are doing at the moment, it gets their full attention, all their focus. If they are building a tower with blocks, that is all they are doing. If they are collecting pinecones outside, those pinecones are their single focus- until they discover a flower or a bug and then their entire world hones in on this new object. When they come running into your arms, they run full out, throwing their entire bodies at you without hesitation. And when they are tired and you pick them up, they give their entire selves over to you, trusting their entire weight into your arms as they rest their head on your shoulder. They give you their all.
We, as parents, have to work to give our children our all. This isn’t always easy, it doesn’t always come naturally and sometimes it can feel downright onerous. Some days its a breeze to sit on the floor and play with legos and cars and stuffed animals for hours on end, switching games right along with our little ones, laughing at the stories they tell and answering their endless questions patiently. But other days, the hours stretch too long. The games they play become …well boring and tedious to us. It isn’t that we don’t want to give our all to our children every possible moment. But as adults, we are molded to multi-task. As a stay at home mother, one who doesn’t rely on day care or a nanny to help our during the day, I have a responsibility to not only give my all to my son but to my family and our household as well and I rarely get to take a break from this job. I feel the weight of this responsibility keenly, everyday. While I want to be able to give my entire focus to my son all day long, with total patience and enthusiasm, I also have a household to keep up, projects of my own that I wish to get done, a constantly growing to-do list and the internal worries and nagging thoughts that play through my mind every day.
Older generations are always saying not to worry so much about the housework, that these years will pass by too quickly and we will regret not spending more time digging in the dirt, having tea parties, and playing reckless games of chase to the backdrop of children’s laughter. I know this is true because I already feel time slipping away before I am altogether ready to let go. But I also know that I am happier in a clean house, more patient with my child when I am also able to get through my to-do list throughout the week. The days seem to pass easier when I am able to keep us both busy. It is a constant balancing act.
But every day I remind myself to give Casey my all. I work to slow down and be patient, to answer all of his questions as best I can and give him my full attention when he is trying to tell me something. I try not to get frustrated when he wants to stop every few feet on a walk down the street. Instead, I take a deep breath and sit down next to him and study ants, poke rolly pollies so they curl up into balls, hold the rocks and leaves and flowers that he collects along the way. In other words, I simply try to be where he’s at.
Just be wherever your children are. That is everything.