I am a busy wife and mother. I have so many things begging for my attention – it never seems to stop! There are dishes to load, piles of laundry to wash, bills to pay, family coming to visit, house to clean and organize from top to bottom, dinner to prepare, groceries to shop for, writing, reading… you get the picture.
But sometimes my two year old daughter and her common everyday needs push all that other stuff to the wayside. Things that I thought I could just easily check off my list end up not getting done.
It is so easy to hand her my phone and let her sit quietly and watch videos of little girls and their dollies having a tea party, so I can whiz past her and get a lot done! But the other day, when I was tempted to do just that, I began to think that maybe this ‘quick fix’ of mine was really very wrong of me. I do not want these moments and years of her little life to be gone forever without my involvement, nor do I want her to get so used to being shoved aside as if she is that unimportant to me.
So, when her big brown eyes looked into mine and she tugged at my side for me to hold her, I asked her if she would like to have a tea party complete with crackers, warm black tea, and her stuffed animals and dollies. Those big brown eyes nearly popped out of her head and she drew a big excited breath that just made me melt.
“Yes! Let’s have a tea party!” she exclaimed.
“Okay! Let’s go get Carolina Bear, and Lamby-Pie, and Gigi, and Lucy so we can all have a tea party together!” I smiled.
Her little diaper-clad legs couldn’t run fast enough. Together we gathered her babies and sat them in a circle on a quilt in our library room. Then we prepared the tea and some crackers on a tray and also got down Mommy’s special, antique tea cups and saucers to use. I don’t think she could believe that she would actually be using one all by herself.
Soon, we were seated with legs crossed enjoying each other’s company, helping baby Gigi taste a spoonful of tea and snacking on a piece of cracker. And twenty minutes later, after all the tea had been disposed of, she occupied herself by playing “kitchen” while I continued working on my list of things to do.
But it was twenty minutes that were well worth the interruption to my busy schedule. I am a stay-at-home mom for this very reason – to be able to spend real, quality time with my child and cater to her every need as best I can. Not to be able to have a completed list of duties! Duties can wait. My child cannot. She was once a newborn, but now she’s not and I miss those days very, very much. I know that one day when she is 7 years old and chatting my ear off (even though she does so already!), I will miss these days when she was only two and learning new things each and every day. Why not relish these sweet moments of her innocent toddler-hood while I still can?!
I found the full poem to this beloved quote of “cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow.” I hope and pray that I will, in future, easily stop what I’m doing to spend some time with my baby girl.
Babies Don’t Keep
By Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Lullabye, rockaby, lullabye loo.
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo,
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo,
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs;
Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.