The Fleeting, Small Moments

As we were going through our morning routine today, my six-year-old son asked me if I could help him get dressed. My inner perfectionist thought, “No, you need some independence, and I know you can do it by yourself. I am already late for the train, and I need you to do this so I am not late for work.” As I started to vocalize this thought, I stopped for a moment and reflected. “Wait, he is only going to be six for a few more months, and he has a lifetime to dress himself.”  

After I had that thought, my brain flashed forward to five/ten years from now; so many of the things that I currently find tedious will be over. I could just imagine myself sitting downstairs with a cup of coffee while my boys get themselves ready and wish that they needed me like they do today.  

Currently, my six-year-old wants to cuddle with me for five minutes before I leave each morning. He wants me to drop everything, sit with him on the couch, and just cuddle.  Those five minutes, however, mean I may miss the train, start my day late, or miss an important call or meeting. But seriously, Melissa, it is only five minutes. How much longer will he ask me to do this?

My three-year-old asks me (no, actually screams/whines) to get him milk six times a day. As I fill the cup, half with milk and half with water, many times I think, ugh milk again! But really--how much longer will I do this for him--getting him something he loves that brings an easy smile to his face?

The same goes for wiping their little tushies, getting up in the middle of the night to soothe them back to sleep, finding the Lego/toy they just have to have, putting their shoes and socks on…the list can go on and on. All of these things take me time, time that I am rushing through to get to the next thing, time that I am scared I will be using inefficiently, time that at the end of the day I will not get back.  

But what would my day-to-day be like if I made these simple moments with my kids my most important moments of the day? If I prioritized the snuggles, grabbing the milk, and finding the toys. How much easier would my morning, afternoon, night be? I know that the meetings, calls, and work trips are important, but at the end of the day are they really more important than the fleeting five-minute cuddles that mean the world to my son? Will getting him dressed really ruin my career? No, it won’t, but I can tell you that getting him dressed, finding his favorite toy, or giving him milk will for sure brighten his day, and isn’t that what it’s really all about?