After my daughter’s end-of-the-year ceremony at school, I held my youngest as she slept. I initially felt HORRIBLE sitting and holding her. I had a mountain of dishes and laundry to do. When you have two toddlers at home, every precious moment they sleep is a small miracle that needs to be used and abused by doing what you CAN’T === absolutely CAN’T do when they are awake. Because, if you have lived with toddlers, you know that when they are awake they take over the world. Serious world dominion takes place. Especially when they are only a year apart, can’t breathe without the other, have no boundaries on climbing walls, and LOVE to take everything out of the trash. And the mystery of it all is that they seem to do it all in one breath!
But I sat anyway. And within moments, I felt so completely at peace with my decision that I held my daughter for an entire hour while she slept. I literally did nothing but hold her and enjoy the peace of her being. Her breathing. Her cherub face. Her small fingers. Her chubby legs.
And I took in the warm breaths against my chest and I savored the feeling of completeness that my children bring me.
I loved it.
And I am so glad that I don’t look back at that moment with regret. Regret about not using my time to do the dishes. Regret about the time to do the laundry. Regret about the time I had to sip a coffee and have a few mommy-alone moments (because right now I don’t even get those in the bathroom. haha!).
Most of us have probably heard the story of the nurse from Australia that worked with hospice patients at the end of their lives—and the one thing she learned from them was that their lives were full of only 1 regret: Not spending enough time with their families.
Therefore, I sat. I smelled. I held. I cherished. Through my baby’s sleep, I lived. And through my quiet moments with her, I learned. I learned that time spent with my children is the most valuable time I will ever spend.
I encourage you today—choose your children because Babies Don’t Keep.
“Babies Don’t Keep”
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
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
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
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
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.
Author Ruth Hulburt Hamilton