I can see her little blonde curls sweeping out from under her pink toddler ball camp. It was her second summer, she was 18 months, and she was my only baby. As a teacher, I had the entire summer “off” to spend with my firstborn. Every single morning, after our bowls of oatmeal, we would walk about three quarters of a mile to what is now known, in our home, as “our park.”
It is a small park with a perfect primary-colored playground and a spacious field of wildflowers and weeds. At that park we would play. It was rare that other parents were at the park, so I could climb the structures with her, race on the slides, and even swing next to her. Depending on how much our brows were sweating, we would stay and play for 30-60 minutes before walking back home.
Now, I have three precious babies–the laundry has somehow grown exponentially, it seems half of my day (yes, I’m exagerating) is occupied with food prep, and despite my best efforts, there is always a mess waiting for me somewhere. But in the midst of the extra work that comes with a family of five, I sometimes forget that in addition to laundry, cooking, straightening, watering the flowers, and vaccuuming the spilled sunflower seeds, I have an important task on my to-do list everyday.
It is one that has eternal rewards or consequences depending on how I treat the task. I am made to foster relationships with my children. Now, in some ways, us mommas have it easier than daddys–afterall, many of us spend 27 months (okay, 9 months) carrying those little ones around. Mommas are the ones built to nurture, and in those early months especially we quickly form a relationship with that little one. But, as our people grow, maintaining, and growing that relationship requires more than simply a swaddle and snuggle.
I’ve written before encouraging you and I that what we’re doing everyday, as mommas, really can’t be checked off a list (much to the chagrin of those of us who really love making lists)–read that post here, “Cinderella Undies on the Floor Don’t Matter Anymore”
But even though I wanted to play Sequence with my girls or join them in their make believe cupcake bakery, I often would feel guilty that I wasn’t checking all the things off the list, until I was reminded of the eternal importance of my relationship with my people.
This prayer from Sally Clarkson’s Ministry of Motherhood, gave me that reminder:
“Most Gracious Lord,
Help us remember, in all the moments of our days, that taking time to cultivate a close relationship with our children is what will open their hearts to you…Help us remember that they want our attention more than our service. Thank you that you made yourself available to people and that you always make time for each of us.”
When we take time to cultivate a relationship with our people, we are making their hearts open to the Heavenly parent. A game of Sequence or making playdough cupcakes just got much more important.
How do you make sure you accomplish the essentials each day while still cultivating those eternally important relationships? Share with us on Facebook.