Last night the kids enjoyed playing together in the bathtub. I shampooed their hair and stood up from kneeling at the tub. I leaned against the wall and watched them. They began throwing wet washcloths at each other and made a game of it. I watched quietly and smiled, I enjoyed hearing them laugh.
A few moments later I was lost in thought, thinking about the kids going back to school after two weeks of Christmas vacation: getting up early again, making lunches and rushing out the door the next morning. (Then I also started thinking about watching the premiere of Season 6 of Downton Abbey later after they were asleep.)
Their loud giggling and screaming caught my attention again. I noticed that they had splashed a lot of water outside of the tub during their game. I must have had a disapproving look on my face because my son looked at me, threw the washcloth at his sister and said, “Mom, watch us and smile!”
We need that reminder as moms, don’t we? So often our minds are full that we’re somewhere in the clouds or somewhere in the future, not living in the moment. Apparently, it shows up on our faces. Our children notice. They need us to watch them and smile!
So often I lament the messes of motherhood: the cleaning up of spills and toys, endless laundry and dishes, the noise and the commotion. It makes me tired just thinking about all of it. Sometimes I squash out the possibility of fun because it’s too messy or too noisy. I crave peace and quiet and when it’s anything but, I guess it shows up on my face. Ah, I am so selfish sometimes.
I get lost in the short-term that I can neglect the importance of the long-term. I too easily forget that I want my children to remember my smile and my laugh. I want them to have memories of our family giggling and having fun together.
Sometimes that means I will have to allow messes so that fun can be had. Sometimes this means reminding myself of my children’s innocence, that they are sweet and immature and won’t always obey because they are children.
I can be a mom with a scowl or a smile on my face. Either way, my children are watching me. I am so thankful for tonight’s bath time reminder: I get to choose.
This morning was as difficult as I thought it would be getting back into the routine of school. Neither of the kids wanted to get dressed. It took a lot of prodding and reminding to get them ready. But I remembered my son’s words, “Mom, watch us and smile!” So, I did.
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