I hate to admit it, but many of my days I’m just going through the motions. Survival mode. Sure, we have our share of fun and play time but, at the end of a long work day, there are times when I barely have enough energy for dinner and the bedtime routine. Routine is exactly what it has become; biding my time until I can put Lenny to bed so I can have an hour or two to of “me time” before going to bed myself and doing it all over again the next day. To say it out loud like that makes me sound like a miserable person and a terrible mom, and I know that I’m neither. I’m just a tired, busy mom who sometimes forgets how to slow down and find little moments of joy in my day.
My mother-in-law was over the other day, after picking Lenny up from daycare and bringing him home. When I arrived home from work, they were both sitting at the dining room table, having dinner. There was food all over the floor, as usual, but I hardly noticed. What I did notice was how much laughter there was. As they ate, they played. She tickled Lenny and he giggled. They made silly noises back and forth and laughed. The laughter caught me off guard because I realized how unusual it sounded while Lenny ate dinner. Did we really not laugh like that? When did I stop having fun? Have I become boring or, worse, have I stopped caring?
No, that’s not fair to myself. I’ll never stop caring for and loving my sweet boy with all my heart. But watching that moment between Lenny and his grandmother made me realize I can try to live more in the moment and have more fun in our day. Even during something as routine as dinner, even when I want to get annoyed at all the food Lenny has thrown on the floor; the food that likely will remain there until I’ve stepped in it so many times I’m about to lose it, or until Lenny finds it the next morning and tries to eat it off the floor before breakfast. So what if food gets on the floor; what I want to focus on more is tickling Lenny’s toes so he laughs, or making funny faces together in between bites.
Tonight, Lenny and I played a little during dinner. He looked at me with his big, toothy grin and laughed big, deep, belly laughs. Music to my ears. I have to remember to slow down and stop and smell the roses every once in while, or maybe even the food on the floor. Every big belly laugh will make it all worth while.