"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children." - Charles R. Swindoll
Rare is it when your child provides you with a moment worth cherishing forever. A moment so simple yet so touching. A moment that makes all of the chaos and heartache and rushing around of parenthood so worth it. A life-flashing-before-your-eyes moment.
So you have to recognize them when they are happening. These are the reasons you wake up before the sun rises and work from the second you're dressed to the second you're back on the bus home more than 12 hours later. The reasons you endure the glares and the backhanded comments and the rolling of the eyes from your co-workers when you're leaving (to rush home to pick up your child) while they're still logged on and working long after you've left. The reasons you're always in a hurry. At the gym. In the car. Even on the toilet. You've got things to do, things to see. Moments to cherish. You can't miss anything,
And the moments come, of course, when you least expect them. While you are hurrying from task to task, going through the routine. Because the routine is the only thing separating you from absolute anarchy. But within that routine, as you are scurrying from place to place, while you are trying to maintain order, you must be prepared to pause at a moment's notice... to notice the moment.
Every morning as part of my routine, I sneak into the Peanut's room to steal a kiss goodbye and whisper to her in her sleep that I love her, and to wish her a good day. Four out of five days, the door will stick and I will - as part of my hurried routine - lack the patience and dexterity to open it with any kind of quiet or composure. The door will scream open, but on five out of five days she won't even so much as stir. She's away in dreamland... sound asleep and sweet as ever.
As good of a sleeper as she may be despite my best yet inadvertent efforts to wake her, there are rare days when she is indeed awake when I open the door. Up way too early. Sucking her thumb, holding her Lammie, laying on her back and staring at the ceiling. There is something indescribably special about seeing her in the morning on these rare occasions. Her day is new. A clean slate with unknown discoveries, untapped knowledge, new words, fun activities awaiting her. A range of emotions sit on the sidelines anxiously waiting to be called into the game. Laughter, tears, anger, grumpiness. Her day is new, and on this rare occasion I am the first one to impact it
I crack open the door slowly, and catch her in her awakened daze. She snaps out of it, quickly turning her head towards me. She turns it so fast, her thumb is left hovering in the air, still occupying the space where it had just seconds before been in her mouth. She's surprised, startled, and then... smiling. A great, big beaming smile. For me. At me. More potent than the strongest, blackest coffee you can brew.
Here is my moment. Maybe you get one a week. If you're lucky. And it's not gonna come when you want it to. Not when you come home and all you want is a hug but she's too consumed in what she was doing before you walked through the door. Not when you're tired and you just want to snuggle but she wants to play. Not when she's grumpy and you just want to make her laugh. Here it is. The moment you've been waiting for. Are you gonna seize it and risk missing that bus? Or are you gonna rush through it and ensure the continued success of the routine?
Seize it. Every time. Because you don't know when the next one is going to come.
I walked over to her bed, and whispered, trying to mask my excitement, "What are you doing awake so early?" She just kept smiling. "Do you have to pee pee?" She shook her head no, and just kept smiling. "Do you want me to turn on your turtle?" She shook her head yes, smiling still. I clicked the little blue button and the soft tones chimed through the turtle as the little underwater scene inside of its belly lit up and started dancing rhythmically and methodically, to lull her back to sleep.
"You go back to sleep so you can have a fun day at school." I bent down to kiss her, and she took her thumb out of her mouth and kissed me back. The rare kiss back! The even rarer smile-at-daddy-kiss-back combo! This was my moment.
A brand new day. For her. For me. I am the first one to impact it... and on this day I made hers special from the start. Little does she know what an impact she had on my day. How special she made it. All it took was a smile. All it took was a moment.
I use the lyrics to another Sting song (The Police, actually) for the title of this post describing another special moment: