The sink is overflowing with dishes and the floor is speckled with crumbs, but it’s time for dinner again. The easiest option is soup, so I stir and let it simmer until it’s ready. I reach in the drawer for spoons and open the cabinet for bowls, but I see the empty space where the spoons go and the blank shelf where the bowls normally reside.
I need to wash the dishes. They pile up so quickly. Faster than I can keep up. Isn’t that the way life happens sometimes? And then we go to reach for what we need and we find an emptiness, or a lack of.
After dinner we empty the sink only so we can fill it up again and wait for the dishwasher to run its course.
It’s comical some days, other days it makes me crazy. Sometimes I think I get it right and I walk around with my chest puffed up at the sight of an empty sink and full cabinets, other days I’m doomed with the disaster of chores undone, and I think I’ll never measure up.
When evening draws near, we do the routine and read, and pray, and hug, and kiss, and then I hear a voice call for me, “Mom, will you stay a little longer?”
Time is valuable and exhaustion is prevalent, but my heart tells me to stay. I crawl into the bed next to the child that fills up the sink day after day, and I listen to the words that flow from her developing mind.
“Mom, what’s your favorite thing to do?”
“I don’t know. What’s yours?”
“My favorite thing is spending time with you, Mom.”
Time. That’s all she wants.
And that’s what she will remember – the time we spend together.
The dishes will sit and have no remembrance of neglect, but children, they remember. They know when life is too busy. They are valuable, vulnerable, and the victims of the way we use our time.
So for this season, I will stay a little longer.
We are all so hard on ourselves. Either it’s the dishes, the laundry, the floor that needs to be mopped, the bathtub that needs scrubbed, the leaves that need raked, or the half done projects that sit in the garage waiting for a snowy day allowing a little more time. It’s the time we waste on Facebook, or Pinterest, and all the things that pull at our attention all day long. We want our children to have good memories so we try hard to make them.
So we buy stuff, plan things, and go places.
But what will they remember?
I don’t think it’s the gifts, the stuff, the sports, the activities, the dishes, or even if the laundry is clean or dirty.
They will remember the time. The time you took them on a special outing to spend the money they saved for weeks. The time you chose to listen when they had a broken heart. The time you patiently helped them through the struggles with their friends. The time you spent playing ball with them or riding the bike trail one more time. The time you raked leaves all day and let them jump in the piles. The time you stayed and talked at night when their little hearts poured out what they really thought. The time you let them play in the puddles and run in the rain. It’s not about a clean house, or a picture perfect memory – it’s about time.
“Mom, will you stay a little longer?”
Let’s do the dishes and get the kids to pitch in, but when it comes down to the end of the day and everyone is exhausted, let’s choose time over dishes. Let’s choose love over laundry. Let’s choose sweet goodnight talks over sweeping. Because all of the chores will be there tomorrow, but the time, we will never get back.
We don’t know what tomorrow brings, so let’s stay a little longer and linger in the sweet moments of I need you, I love you, and I’m with you. Because there will come a day when they are all grown up and the bedtime stories will end, the adorable things they say will change, and life will look a bit different.
For now, Mom, stay a little longer. It’s worth every moment!
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Love & Blessings,
If this was an encouragement to you, pass it on so someone else can be encouraged too!
This article originally appeared at MicahMaddox.com.