Let me preface this post by saying that I am the fun police. Really, I am. I don’t mean to be, but for some reason, if there is fun happening, I have to stop it. I do not like it, but it’s the truth. So picture this: it’s a snow day. You’re off work. Your child is out of school, and you are at home. The house is a mess. There is laundry to do, and both of you need your hair done. You have work to do, but your daughter just wants to play in the snow. What do you do? If you are like me, you probably plan out your day. You schedule time to tackle the necessary tasks, and you feel empowered to make this day productive. Many would say that sounds like a good day…and they would be wrong. This happened to me recently. I made the mistake of using this day as an opportunity to get caught up on chores—chores that, though completed that day, needed to be completed AGAIN the next day. I wasted that day and hope that my readers will learn from my mistake. The biggest lesson that I learned as the snow melted in the days following and I found myself, once again, in the house doing those same chores was that she is only five once, so play in the snow. The snow will melt, she will continue to grow up, and her interests will change. It already seems that she has gotten to this age so fast, which is all the more reason to savor the moments that I can. At this moment, I am her best friend, her hero, and the key to her heart. Tomorrow, things may not be this way between us. I cannot get this day back. I cannot make the memories of that day at this point. I can’t get that particular snow day back. I now know there will always be laundry to do, something to clean, or something else needing my attention, but none more than her. She will only be five on February 24, 2016, once—I should’ve played in the snow.
Every day, we teach our kids about life by how we live ours. They observe us and internalize messages about themselves, their world, and the way they should perceive things. You see, that day I taught her that work is always first and what she wants comes second. While this is mostly true, I don’t know that this lesson is age appropriate. I missed an opportunity to teach her to stop and smell the roses. I missed the opportunity to teach her to take time for herself because it is healthy to do so. I missed an opportunity to play in the snow. These lessons frame the values that we possess and the values that our children will make a life of. That makes it a crucial responsibility for us parents to send the right messages to them at the right time. Yes, she stomped around, and we sat and watched as I did other things, but I missed out on some potentially amazing memory making. As adults, we have grown up and become so driven and focused that I think we forget to just live. If we pay attention and are intentional, that’s what our kids bring into our lives—adventure.
We have to open ourselves to the possibility that our kids have the right idea because, let’s face it, we may be the adults, but we don’t know everything. When was the last time you thought, this is the only time I will live this moment of this day of this month of this year (say that three times fast). What was memorable about yesterday for you? The day before? What will you look back on next year and say, “I remember that!” because it was worth remembering? I won’t remember cleaning my house, washing and braiding our hair, and writing a paper. Honestly, I won’t. My daughter won’t either. She would’ve remembered playing in the snow with her mother.
We encounter this dilemma daily. It may not literally be a snow day, but it is the only one of this day that you will experience. Whatever it may look like for you, take advantage of the opportunity to make at least one moment a worthy memory because that is what we have left of the days that pass. When you come to this fork in the road every day, remember she will only be five once, so just play in the snow!