We are in the throes of an Arctic blast here in Massachusetts! In fact, the temperature was -14 when I left the house for work this morning. It is so cold that my hair actually froze while I was walking from my car into school today. My hair was soaking wet for one simple reason: my sleepy, snuggly son asked me to “stay with him a few minutes.” What’s a mom to do? Half-dressed and with a towel on my head, I hopped into bed with him without a moment’s hesitation. He nestled his head on my shoulder and curled up against me and all was right in the world… for five minutes. Now, I could have spent those five minutes drying my hair and making myself look presentable for work, but I didn’t and I don’t regret it. When someone requests love, you drop whatever you’re doing, (or think you need to do,) and GIVE LOVE!
This is much easier said than done. If your life is anything like mine, the work week is a blur and there is a perpetual list of things you need to do that seems to get longer, not shorter, with each passing day. I think I was able to exhale ONCE after Christmas and then hopped back on the ride! January brings my son’s 5th birthday (OMG! Already? Slow down! Stop growing so fast! Please!) and February brings Valentine’s Day, hubbie’s birthday and our annual and amazing trip to see Gram and Pop in Florida. Pretty stellar events, but all require time, planning, work, money. I am drowning in a sea of lists, post-its and Pinterest boards. Add to these large events the daily chores and tasks that need to be completed, and I just don’t have enough time to love my kids. Not the kind of love I always carry in my heart, but the kind of love that means spending time together. Straight up hanging out, playing, doing projects, watching a movie, whatever. Yesterday I spent a total of one hour of free time with my kids. Every other moment was accounted for with working, homework, cooking, cleaning, eating, bathing… If we are this busy when they are tiny, I loathe to think how busy will we be when they have plans and activities of their own. I live in fear about how much I will miss them. And I always feel guilty when my kids want to play and I can’t because I am tending to dust bunnies, dirty dishes and essays I need to grade.
As a teacher, I am forever saying that parents need to reinforce skills at home, but I am a hypocrite. I say these things, but I rarely have the simultaneous time and desire to do them with my own children. In the little down time I have with the kids, do I really feel like forcing my son to practice his letters or teaching shapes to my daughter? I know, I know. We can turn these activities into fun togetherness games, but we all know they kind of start to suck after awhile. The kids lose steam and my mind starts to wander. Can we PLEASE just read some funny books, play a game, build a fort, make a snowman, or bake cookies instead? I am sick of letters, numbers, tasks and guided activities. Learning is awesome, but loving is too. I need the time to teach my kids to love. To love themselves. To love others. To love life. To love going out with wet hair because you snuggled instead.
This February, let’s be sure to put “give love” on the top of every to-do list. Let’s promise ourselves that we’ll ignore something because we are too busy loving someone. Let’s make every day Valentine’s Day!