If you knew today was the last day of your life, would you still do what you’re going to do?
This is a question that was posed to me today and it really got me thinking.
I so often get lost in the details of running my home and my family that I find myself so immersed in laundry, dishes, writing, bills, making lunches, checking homework, running to after-school activities that it’s only late at night that I realise I missed out on so many opportunities to spend time – real time – with my family. Our lives consist of endless rushing from the time we wake up until we get to bed that there are hardly gaps to breathe and notice one another. It’s hard! And I don’t know how to slow down. There is no give. Life is just crazy right now.
This weekend, I found a gap and boy, did I grab hold. The big kids had play-dates and Baby G and I were blissfully alone with nothing to do. Sure, my laundry was (correction – still is) piled to the sky but I decided that it could wait. We were going to bake.
If there is any activity sweeter than kneading dough with a four year old, I’m yet to experience it. Those little fat hands squishing the dough just about melted me into a puddle.
While we baked, we chatted. She told me that she misses me when she is at daycare. I told her that I am proud of the big girl she is growing up to be. She told me that her favourite colour is pink. I acted surprised. I told her that of all the baby girls in the world, she is my favourite. She told me that I am the most beautifullest mummy ever, all the way to fairyland and also 7-35 and also as high as the balcony. I told her I loved her when she was in my tummy. She told me she didn’t like it in my tummy because it was dark and ‘squooshy”. I asked her if she was happy when she came out and she said yes, because she could see the part of my face where my voice came from. I pretended I didn’t see her sneaking tastes of the cookie dough. She thrilled in getting her hands dirty. We rolled and cut and had lengthy debates about where on the baking trays each heart should go and how many of each size we should make. We giggled about farts and burps. She said “boobies” and fell about laughing with tears of mirth. I lost myself in her innocence.We kneaded dough and strengthened our bond.
I realised, as we baked together, that this is the meaning of my life. This is what I will remember one day when I’m old and I look back fondly on the time my kids were little. The endless schlepping in the car from footy to gymnastics to dancing – these things are important and necessary, but they won’t be remembered. It’s the gaps in-between that count. These little moments that we find to bake, to play cars, to colour. This is what memories are made of.
After we finished cutting out two dozen heart-shaped biscuits (what else for a fairy princess?), we popped them in the oven and used the waiting time to refresh our manicures. She chose hot pink and again I convincingly acted surprised. When the timer beeped, we got our heart biscuits, sprinkled them with edible glitter (apparently when you eat it, you develop a sparkling personality…) and packaged them in pretty little gift boxes. That night, we gave out our love-cookies to the people we love and they were received with great happiness.
Baking with my Baby G was a rare treat. It’s something I positively and absolutely loved doing. So much so, that this afternoon, I grabbed a half an hour and repeated the process with Little Man. This time, instead of hearts we made Star Wars fighter ships. Who knew something called the Death Star could be made with such love. Tonight at bed time, Little Man, wrapped his arms around my neck and said that baking with me was the best part of his day. It was just half an hour.
Dishes can wait.
Laundry can wait.
Bills can wait.
Phonecalls can wait.
Time can’t wait. Time doesn’t wait.
I’m going to blink and these little people – who, for now, see me as the beginning and the end of the universe – are going to be all grown up. I want to make sure that when that day comes, they will look back and smile and remember the little moments like these. I know I will.