This morning was not my favorite morning so far this summer. I woke up with a NyQuil hangover. My sinuses are completely congested and, somehow, also draining. I have a ton of work I need to do, and I feel simultaneously very anxious to get it done and also unmotivated to get started.
With a sigh, I fired up the Keurig and got to work.
By the time I found my groove and felt like I was finally being productive, my kids — who had been playing nicely together until then — broke out into a fight. This happens sometimes; we all know the protocol: separate them, have the “you’re family so act like it” talk with them, and send them to different parts of the house to play independently while they calm down. So, I took care of that bit of business and returned to my computer to work.
Soon after, my daughter (who was feeling particularly needy today — a side of her that I actually love quite a bit), told me that she needed some time with me. I was slightly frustrated, only because I had found my flow again and didn’t want to tear myself away from what I was doing. But, she needed me. And my first job is to her and her brother. I put the computer down and followed her to her bedroom.
She wanted to show me all the new things that have been released in Minecraft. She pulled up the toolbox where all the Minecraft tools are kept and began scrolling slowly — so painfully slowly — showing me every new thing that has just been released. I found myself smiling through gritted teeth and and nodding along with her, all while watching the tiny scroll bar on the right side of her screen to see how much further we had to go.
But as we went on, a profound sense of love and longing washed over me. My sweet five year old daughter, with her nasally little voice and her tiny hands, wanted me to be with her. She needed me near. Instead of watching the screen, I found myself angling my eyes upward toward her face, watching the way her adorable little nose scrunches when she laughs, counting the freckles that pebble her cheeks.
I realized how precious these little moments are. She’s here with me. What a gift! One day, she’ll be out with friends, driving her own car, falling in love. She’ll be out from under my watchful and protective eye. I won’t be able to stop the world from hurting her like I can now. I’ll reach for her, and she won’t be there.
My morning of Minecraft with Abby taught me to appreciate the little moments, even the ones that feel like they’re interfering with my goals or productivity. I will miss these days. And as frustrated as I get when moms of older kids insist on reminding me of that every time I dare to complain about the hard times with little kids, I do appreciate the sentiment today.
They’re not wrong.
We will miss them.
These days are few, and precious.