"Just PICK something!" I cry in exasperation, as my three-year-old dithers over whether to wear the pink sundress with the polka dots or the pink sundress with the hearts on it. My husband comes in to commandeer the three-year-old...meanwhile, I try to stuff a squirming one-year-old into her clothes as quickly as possible. Unwilling to lie on the change table, changing her is somewhat like changing an octopus—it seems like she has at least eight limbs.
Once everyone is dressed, there's a flurry of activity as my husband and I try to sort out who needs to bring what to where, and who's taking which car. Does everyone have shoes? (run back upstairs to get shoes for the baby) We need a cheque for the daycare today! (run back upstairs for the cheque book). The three-year-old is thirsty. The one-year-old is climbing the stairs.
Finally, everyone is out of the house. I'm racing to the car, and if I hurry, I might just have time to get a coffee without missing my train....
Now that I'm back at work, our morning routine is hectic, and the evening routine isn't much better. We're always rushing, there's always something that needs to be done, and we're always behind.
So much of parenting is like this. We're always looking forward, planning ahead to the next event, anticipating the next crisis....
And then, there are moments that give you pause.
I watched my three-year-old on the swings at the park today—she's just learned that if she pumps her legs, she can move herself without needing a push. I watched her long, tanned legs move back and forth, her blond hair waving in the breeze, the evening sun on her face as she laughed with a friend swinging beside her. And I thought, My God—she's so big. So tall. So grown up, compared to the little baby I remember.
We need those moments, I think, to remind us that the essence of our lives isn't the daily grind. It's not the early mornings and the cranky evenings; it's not the lost shoes, missed connections and hasty kisses.
Love is in the snapshots—the moments that remind us why we chose this path. Why we wanted a family, and why we get on this crazy merry-go-round, day after day.
In the rush of life, we can't afford not to take the time
To be present,
To watch and enjoy the miracle we've made,
And to breathe.