I carried him from the couch and all the way to bed. I tucked him under his favorite blanket. I handed him his worn, “buddy,” the teddy bear one he’s slept with every night since he was one. I leaned over and kissed his forehead and gently whispered: “I love you.”
And finally, my job was done. Finally, I could relax.
Finally, I could be alone. All alone.
I walked away and pulled the door, but just as it was about to close when only a tiny sliver of darkness was peeking through into the hallway, I heard a tiny voice, “Will you lay with me?”
Ahhhhhhhhhh. I thought of the dishes in the sink. I thought of the laundry in the hamper. I thought of the “me” time I so desperately deserved and said “Baby, Mommy just doesn’t have time tonight. Maybe tomorrow, ok?”
I pulled the door for the second time, but something stopped me. Guilt stopped me.
The honest truth was, I did have time. I just had more important things to do.
And that quietly killed me. That was like sticking a knife in my side. That was like the ultimate gut check.
How could anything be more important than being with my son? How could anything be more important than snuggling with him? How could anything be more important than listening to him breathe and watching him dream and brushing the blonde hair out of his face?
And so I walked into his room, tip-toed past the stuffed animals and army men thrown all over the carpet, and climbed into bed next to him.
“I thought you didn’t have time.”
“You know, I changed my mind.”
And so that night, as I laid in bed cuddled with my firstborn, I wiped the phrase “I don’t have time,” completely out of my dictionary. I deleted it from my hard drive. I eliminated it from my vocabulary. Because it is such an ugly, ugly lie.
We do have time. We have 24 hours. The same 24 hours we have day after day after day.
It’s our job to prioritize how we spend those 1440 minutes.
It’s our job to schedule and strategize and select how we spend them, where we spend them and who we spend them with.
I’m not the perfect mom, I’m not always right. I’m not even usually right. I’m not always the best.
But my kids will always know that they come first. My kids will always know that they come before dishes and laundry and lounging on the couch. My kids will always know that they are my number one priority.
My kids will always know that I have time. For silly stories. For dancing in the living room. For bedtime prayers.