When I was younger, some of the things I looked most forward to about being an adult were being a wife and mom, writing checks and dressing up for work. I always thought the sweetest sounds would be those of the pitter patter of little feet running around the hardwood floors and the squeals of laughter coming out of my children's mouths.
I have to say that when I think of those things that make me happiest now, my mind is immediately drawn to those things I thought about when I was a teenager. (Except the whole writing checks part. That I don't enjoy so much. And some days, I really wish I could wear jeans to work, but that's another topic for another day.) There is nothing I love more than spending time with my husband and our kids. I get more joy and happiness out of little family moments that may seem so insignificant than I do out of most other things.
At their ages (five and soon-to-be four), the boys love being with us. They want us to play with them, want us to sit on the floor with them, want us to do things with them and want us just to listen to them. There's nothing greater than that. Our den and their playroom may look like a tornado has swept through and thrown Thomas and all his train friends across our rug along with what seems to be one hundred or more Matchbox cars and race tracks that seem to cover nearly every surface of the playroom floor, but that's ok. We have fun.
While we sit on the floor and build train tracks (when Kevin and I get the chance to be the train track builders - we have a little engineer in the making who goes by the name of K.C.), we're doing so much more than just building a play space; we're building memories and strengthening bonds. We're literally putting together pieces of a track, but more importantly, we're showing our boys how much we love them and want to spend time with them. And really, time is all they want.
They want to know we've missed them when we come in from work every afternoon. They want to know we're proud of the pictures they've drawn at school even if we can't always make out what the pictures are. They want to know that we love snuggling, tickling and giving them kisses. They want to know that they are valued even though they're small.
A few nights ago, I was packing sandwiches for the week. Kaden, my little chef, asked me if he could help. Making sandwiches for lunches is not on my list of favorite things to do, but I'd rather make them than have them eat Lunchables every day. Instead of just finishing the job, I said, "Sure buddy" and proceeded to move my sandwich making operation including Easter shaped cookie cutters (sandwiches are more fun when they're cut into shapes!) to the boys' picnic table. His eyes lit up with excitement as he assembled the sandwiches piece by piece - bread, cheese and ham - and then picked out duck, carrot and rabbit cookie cutters to use to cut his sandwiches into shapes. Sure, I had a lot more mess to clean up, but seeing his smile and how excited he was to make lunch for himself and his brother was priceless.
When I'm at home, I try to focus completely on my family. Yes, it's hard sometimes with all the other tasks that have to be done like making dinner, packing lunches, doing homework and giving the boys a bath, but I really try my hardest to get as much done when they're not at home or when they're asleep so that my nights and weekends can be devoted to them. It may mean I'm not involved in Twitter conversations, posting pictures on Instagram or watching the hottest new TV show, but for me, it means I'm trying my best to make sure my husband and our kids feel valued and loved.
I had a great childhood filled with so many memories of my parents playing with me, my nana letting me cook with her and my mom going out of the way to do fun things even if it meant she had a lot to clean up afterwards. That's the same kind of childhood I want our boys to have. I want them to feel the joy Kevin and I have in playing with them. I want them to know that even though we have to clean them up, messes from fun are ok. I want them to know that there's nothing we would rather do than invest in them.
At the end of the day, there's no better feeling that to be greeted at the door by sweet little ones (and a sweet big one) who are dying to tell you about their days and dying to have you play with them. I want the boys to know that for me, too, there's nothing more that I want to do than to come inside and spend my night playing with my family because there's nothing better than lots of fun, laughter and love.
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