Not too long ago, I was tucking in my children for bed and as I pulled the comforter up over my oldest daughter (age 8), she said something that made me take a deep breath and swallow hard. She whispered, “Mommy, why don’t you play with us anymore?” My first instinct was to become defensive and tell her all the recent times that I’d done just that, but when I opened my mouth to do it, I couldn’t think of anything.
I felt ashamed and guilty at the realization that I have been too busy to play with my children. I’d always told myself that wouldn’t happen, but the demands of being a work at home mom have recently overwhelmed me. I’ve struggled with time management. I’m homeschooling an extra child this year and it has thrown my household routine off balance. I am chronically sleep deprived.
In the end, I realized all of these things were really just excuses.
As my mind raced thinking of some words to say to answer my daughter and soothe her disappointment, she said something else. “Remember when we used to dance together? That was really fun.”
Yes, dear child, I do. I remember the days of grabbing kitchen spoons and twirling in the kitchen.
I remember the times we blasted music and shimmied around the living room waving our dusters.
I remember letting her teach me the ballet steps that she’d learned in class.
I remember her giggles.
I can’t pinpoint the moment when things started to drift more towards a stressed mommy tapping keys on the laptop and a little girl feeling lonely in her bed, but I do know that I cannot continue this pattern.
We have such a short time with our children. She is already 8 years old. That means we are nearly halfway through raising her. Do I want this to be her memory when she thinks back on her younger years? Do I want her to remember that Mama was always too busy to stop and twirl?
So what can I do?
It’s going to be a new year, so along with that, I’m purposing to be a new mommy. I need to be more intentional with my children. I want to be more present. I want to put on my dancing shoes.
There are so many reasons why dancing with my little girl is more important than any other thing that is going on in my life so it’s going to be a priority.
Something so simple, yet something so meaningful. A shared moment. A memory treasured in a young heart. A mother reminded that time is fleeting.
So I’m turning our favorite songs up and practicing my spin. That way, when I tuck her in at night, she’ll smile and say, “Mama, I love dancing with you.”
Will you turn on the music and join me? Dance with your children.