We were sitting on the floor of her bedroom, my little helper and I. She piled all of Judah’s clothes in another basket as I quickly folded the girl’s clothes and stuffed three separate drawers full of them.
We were moving in something of a rhythm.
With the drawers – *open, shut, open, shut.*
And her little voice – “This one Judah’s?”
And mine – “Yes. Good job, baby!”
There I sat feeling like I was doing something right as a mother and homemaker. That sparkling new schedule hanging crooked on the refrigerator door would tell me that I was on track. Everyone was in the right place doing exactly what was planned for them.
Then out of the basket two toddler hands pulled an item that would momentarily disturb that perfect flow and would teach me a lesson I thought I already knew.
An ordinary swaddle blanket flitted from it’s bed of mismatched socks and pink polkadot pajamas and swayed in the outstretched arms of my blond-haired two-year-old. I waited for the question and, when it wasn’t asked, glanced up. Her blue eyes twinkled playfully at me over the blanket.
“Mom, lay down!” she exclaimed, not as a demand, but with the excitement of a new idea dancing in her words.
My mind raced upstairs to that schedule on the fridge. It’s boxes, carefully filled with the activities of the day, didn’t include me laying down in the middle of the nursery floor. Five minutes indulged in a childish whim meant five minutes behind doing laundry. And five minutes behind in laundry meant five minutes late starting lunch. And didn’t five minutes late starting lunch mean five minutes late getting the children down for a much needed nap?
I opened my mouth to say, “Not now. We’ll play later.” when I looked once more at her face.
JOY. It was splashed over every inch. And she waited so patiently for me to do what she asked. Closing my mouth I lay down on the carpet. Could I not spare five minutes for such joy?
Promptly following my decision to recline Adeline rushed over, saying, “I have a blanket for you, my dear.” Then, proceeding to cover me with the small offering, asked, “You not feeling well, mom?” and jumped up again to find more blankets. While draping those over me, she said in the most tender voice, “I will mother you.”
Tears were already welling in my eyes as she sat down by my head and began to stroke my hair. Looking down at my face she said ever so sincerely and sweetly, “I am so proud of you.”
My little girl played at mothering me for a few minutes more, and as I lay there swallowing down the lump in my throat I thought about how I had almost canceled Adeline’s outpouring of affection before it even began.
Oh, of course there is a time to say no to our children. But friends, how many times do we selfishly use that word when we have the opportunity to bless our child – even our sister or friend – with a yes? And in doing so how many times have we missed the opportunity to be blessed ourselves?
How grateful I am for this precious reminder this week. How grateful I am for the opportunity to watch my daughter practice tenderness. How grateful I am to have lain down amidst piles of laundry to take five minutes for joy.