We had an ice storm blow through town this week. Not snow… ice. It looked pretty and I thought that when I stepped on it, I would sink in the slushiness of snow… but no. It was indeed ice. The ground had no give and I was slipping and sliding as soon as I set foot on it. But I did set foot on it… for them. My family.
I am too often content to send them outside to play together. They make up great games. They play well together. They will remember the days of climbing trees and playing in all the worlds they have made up together. But what will they remember of me in those times? Will they remember that I was curled up under a blanket on the sofa instead of out on the porch or up in a tree with them? Will they remember that I was trying to clean the kitchen instead of responding to their cries of “mom watch me!” Will they hear the sigh in my voice as they tromp back in, asking for food?
I often have to make myself engage in life with them. My husband is amazing at making memories and spending time. His love language is quality time. A snow day.. iced in and no way to leave the house is just what he loves. He is often bundled up and heading out the door before the kids.
I didn’t want to go outside with them yesterday. I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to engage. I wanted to leave that to my husband. I wanted to take the time they were outside to get some work done. I didn’t want to get cold.
But I did. I’m glad I did… I always am. I love the giggles and screams as we sled together. I love watching the adventurous children God has given me climb higher up the icy hill and fly down with reckless abandon. Sheer joy on their faces.
They will take these memories with them. They will remember when we laughed and giggled our way down the ice… no sleds needed, only to crash into the trees below. They will remember riding on the back of their daddy, wind in their faces. They will remember lying in a big heep of family at the bottom of the hill. I am glad I took the time to get dressed and go outside… even if I was the last one out because I was bundling four kids into snow suits… and even if I had to come in early because after 20 minutes of snow play, our littlest was done.
I do have to work. Our dishes do have to get done. I can’t ignore the laundry. But there is a time for it… and when there is snow and ice and giggling children outside… that is just not the time for chores. That is the time for family.