Last week my son came to me with a simple question.
I groaned inside because I knew the answer. The right answer was “No. ” The wrong answer, which was inside my head, said “I really don’t want to stop what I’m doing.”
Luckily, my mouth came up with the right answer.
“No, what do you need?”
“Would you play this with me?” I looked in the hand of my sixth-grader. He was holding a home-made board game on Carnegie he made for a school assignment.
“Sure” I said, though I silently rebelled.
Playing games is on my most-despised-mom-duty-list.
We sat on our living room floor that Saturday afternoon and in ten minutes, we successfully completed the game while learning about the life of Carnegie. My son was happy, with a wide, content smile when we were done. He resumed doing whatever he does in the Man-Cave with his brothers, and I returned to things a blogging/working mom does on Saturdays.
I felt guilty for being selfish with my time, but I knew ten minutes playing the Carnegie game was the most important use of my time for the week. I cherished the time in my heart because there aren’t too many times when kids ask if I’m “not busy” these days in a house of teenage boys. I thought back to days, not too long ago, when I was too busy for just about everything. When the need came to spend unscheduled time with a child, I used to calculate in my head the cost of putting them off or stopping and engaging with them. My heart usually overruled my head, resulting in precious, irreplaceable time with my kids.
As my son walked away, I longed for more time to spend with each my kids…..time snuggled in a rocking chair with three of them in my lap reading Mike Mulligan and the Steamshovel or singing “Trust and Obey.” My heart yearned for my daughter to bring me cups of tea she imaginably made or for my sons to pour seed corn in my lap while they “unloaded the bins” with toy John Deere tractors. Even now, the tears fall from my cheeks as I ponder these things in my heart. I’m thankful I gave the right answer to the monumental question, “Are you busy?”
A friend and I were recently talking about many moms that seem to struggle with being content with where they are with little ones under their feet. I remember being there. I remember wondering if I’d ever have a thought or moment of my own or if I would ever have time where there wasn’t someone demanding my energy and time.
Now, when the rare moment comes when a child asks or calls, “Mom, are you busy?,” I rush at the chance to be fully present with my not-so-little-little-ones.
If I could say one word to young, harried, stretched-to-the-limit moms, it would be to seek God’s peace and contentment in the season you are in. While the world might seem to be passing you by, it’s not. And even if it is, your children will pass by even faster. Once they are self-sufficient and their world revolves around their peers, you will long for just a wisp of their presence and a five-minute conversation to hear their voice. You will yearn for time with them where you can be fully present.
God granted me ten minutes to learn about Carnegie and also affirm the time and effort my son put into his project. We talked about other things in the process, and his fill for Mom-time was done. But later that night, when the other two boys were in bed, I opened their doors, sat beside them in the dark, and asked if I could pray with them.
They said “Sure,” so I put my hand on their strong, manly-arms and prayed while they laid in the beds next to the picture of their girlfriends on the nightstand. I took a chance, leaned over to kiss their heads, and felt my heart flutter as they said, “Good –night Mom” as I walked out the door.
Ten minutes was all it took, but my heart was filled as I hope was theirs.
Because our kids – whether two, twelve, or twenty, need us to be fully theirs for a few moments in time.
Dear Lord, thank you for each moment you give us. Thank you for the seasons and stages we have with our children. Please equip each of us as moms to stop, look, and listen to our children. Help us to not be busy when we need to be present with them. Stretch our time, soften our hearts, and let us see our kids as you do. Thank you for the moments you give us – help us not to miss the most important opportunities be you to our kids.
Where do you need to give one of your kids just ten minutes of your time?