"You never play with us anymore." My five year old daughter accuses. The words stop me cold, I can feel my carefully teetering resolve crumbling around me. I glance around at the piles of laundry to be folded and the dinner bubbling on the stove. I mentally check in on how many hours of homework and writing I need to do after they go to sleep. I conclude that there are not enough hours in the day.
There is so much to do and yet my kids want me now, not in five minutes, not this weekend, or when I'm finished school in two weeks, they want me now, this minute. Sometime this demand makes me want to scream. I feel suffocated by responsibilities. I want to yell at them "It's just me! I'm doing this alone!" Yet, I know that's not what they need to hear. They are well aware that I am the only parent in this household, a fact that makes them even more hungry for my time. They need to connect with me for the exact same reason I resist it, it's just me.
And so I take a deep, belly filling breath, I release the expectations that my laundry will be folded, that my house will be clean, or that I will get as much sleep as I want. I breath and I release, because with my kids, I have now. They truly will not remember the blood red pomegranate stains on the kitchen floor, the unmade beds, or the unimaginative dinner. What they will remember is that I said yes to spending time with them, that I kissed them for no reason, and made silly voices while playing with their toys. The moments I said yes to now, instead of brushed them off with a later. And honestly, these will be the same moments I remember.
The present is happening whether or not you are there for it. Choose to be there.