As the end of the school year approached in late May, I readily admit that I couldn’t wait for summer. This past year was my daughter’s first year of school and while it was a new, wonderful experience, I was ready for a break. Bring on summer, I said. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for!
It is now mid July and I am still waiting for that break. It seems we are always going somewhere or doing something. We have been on the go: to camp, field trips, cheerleading practice, parades, Kings Island and festivals, just to name a few! My daughter is having a blast, but most days I feel like I could use a nap. Lately, I have found myself complaining that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. While we have been out having fun the laundry and dishes have been piling up (literally and figuratively). Thank goodness I do not have any friends or family who like to drop in unannounced because I and they would be completely mortified by my housekeeping skills, or lack thereof.
And so, one night recently my husband came home from work and promptly told our daughter, without conferring with me, that we would go to the park after dinner as a family. If looks could kill, he would have been a goner. I was furious. I didn’t have time to go the park. Didn’t he see the state of our house? Who was going to do the dishes? Who was going to make the beds? Who was going to go the grocery store? Who was going to give our daughter a bath? To his credit, my husband immediately realized I wasn’t happy. He asked me what was wrong and I quickly began giving him an exhaustive laundry list of chores that needed to be done. How did he not know? He looked at me and calmly said, “It will all still be here tomorrow. Why does it need to be done tonight? We’re taking Maddy to the park.”
And I had to admit, he was right. It didn’t need to be done that night. We had dinner, went to the park and enjoyed a relaxing evening as a family. And the world didn’t end. No one was waiting for me at my house when we returned to tell me I was a bad housekeeper or mother. The only person judging me was me.
When I think about how quickly my daughter is growing up, I am daunted. We feel we have all the time in the world to enjoy or children, but, in reality, their childhood moments are so fleeting. I am doing my best, with my husband’s help, to savor the time I have. When I was a child, my mom had a poem in her home that says it best:
Babies Don’t Keep
I hope that my child, looking back on today
Will remember a mother who had time to play;
Because children grow up while you’re not looking,
There are years ahead for cleaning and cooking.
So, quiet now cobwebs, dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby, and babies don’t keep.