Every night without fail, as I tuck my soon-to-be 3 year old in bed, he’ll say, “Read story to me?” Night after night, he reaches for Goodnight Moon. As we read through the pages of this classic bedtime story, Harry admonishes the little bunny for trying to get out bed, and says goodnight to the little mouse, the bears, and the moon.
As he waves goodnight to the “oatmeal” (the mush), and smiles as he says, “tastes good” I want to hold onto this moment forever. I want to remember the way he smiles, and the way he chuckles to himself. I want to remember the scent of his freshly washed hair as he snuggles close and the softness of his favorite jammies.
It would have been very easy to miss out on this precious memory. I can’t count how many times I’ve skipped over opportunities to play with my kids because I was “too busy.” I have a news flash for you – we’re moms…we’re ALWAYS busy.
As mothers, we’re constantly forced to multi-task. We are master jugglers, balancing schedules and mulling over dozens of details at any given moment. We’re making sure homework is done (and in the backpack!), finding lost shoes, keeping the laundry pile low, defrosting chicken for dinner, paying bills, feeding babies, and scheduling doctor appointments in the span of about 10 minutes. We work non-stop around the clock, swimming in details and working tirelessly to get everything done. The busy-ness never ends.`
I don’t want to get too busy for Goodnight Moon. I don’t want to be too busy to push my daughter on the swings. I want to make the time to take my son out for afternoon dates – so I won’t miss the way he gets ice cream on his nose when he licks his cone, or the way he runs straight to the animal books at the library. I want to choose building blocks over unimportant emails. I want to make time for dance parties in the kitchen and be okay with my kitchen table being a collage and coloring station. I want my time to be well-spent and prioritized in the right way.
When I’m an old lady, and my kids have kids of their own, I want to remember the small details – the things I might have missed if I had chosen my “busy-ness” over my kids. I don’t want a life that was filled up with things that fade away. As far as life’s priorities go – my kids are pretty darn near the top, and I want to live my life in a way that reflects that.
So today, there will be multiple readings of Goodnight Moon. And as my son stops to wave goodnight to the oatmeal, I’ll smile, and free my mind of the “urgent” emails, the to-do list that’s always far too long, and the other nonsense that so often consumes me. I will prioritize my babies. I’ll make time for the small things- because really, at the end of our days, it will be the small things we long to hold onto.
So, “Goodnight Oatmeal. Goodnight Air. Hello small things everywhere.”