Last night, bedtime was approaching. I was supposed to be wrestling kids into sleepers and begging them to brush their teeth. But I wasn’t.
I was sweeping the floor and listening to conversations. I was wiping down the dining room table and laughing at in-the-living-room basketball bets. I was sitting on the couch reading — well, not reading so much as looking at and talking about a book with Daniel and Gabby. It was a bunny book. With some baby lambs thrown in for good measure. Gabby and I made Baa-Baa sounds; Daniel growled. We laughed at his ferocity and he tried all the harder to convince us that bitty lambs are savage creatures.
Somewhere among stories and sleepers as I began gently to coax kids toward pajamas and prayers, I noticed something. I used to rush through this time. And, in fairness, many nights I still do. And yet last night I thought, Why should I hurry? So that the kids could disappear into their bedrooms and I could get on with “my time”? So that I could accomplish something important without them?
I don’t know exactly when or exactly how it happened, but it did — somewhere, somehow I went from being a harried mother of babies to a more relaxed mother of big kids, babies, and some in between. Those first babies grew up and turned into young people I like spending time with. Their daily presence gives me perspective on the work and worry that today’s babies require.
I don’t look ahead so much any more. I am not so anxious anymore to get to the next thing, the next bit of freedom, the next bit of “my time.” This is my time. It’s as real and as lovely as it’s ever going to get. And I’m taking it.