My first instinct was to stop them. Bedtime was approaching and the work needed to be finished. My mind told me there was not time for giggling and silliness. I should have been annoyed. Yet, I couldn't stop smiling. I joked with them and laughed with them. This one night, homework time was fun.
Most days I am so caught up in all the things that need to be done, I operate like a robot on autopilot. Get everyone up. Pack the lunches. Drive them to school. Run the errands. Do the laundry. Carpools. After school activities. Make the dinner. Homework. Bath time. Bedtime.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
"They" say that we should cherish every moment of parenthood and, just last week, I wrote about how it all goes by way too fast. We all know, however, that it's not really possible to treasure every single moment. I didn't cherish all the sleepless nights when they were infants or the tantrums in aisle 5 of Target. I haven't treasured sick days that threw our whole schedule out of whack and ended with me on the receiving end of a terrible stomach bug. Who would?? I would rather forget the times when they have bickered incessantly or rolled their eyes at my requests to clean their rooms. Most of the time, I don't cherish the moments that seem so bogged down in the minutia of life - like getting them to do their homework in the evenings.
I'm not going to tell you that I cherish every single moment of motherhood. I don't. I can't. That is an unrealistic expectation.
Once in a while, though, I get a reminder. It comes in the form of giggles during homework time, or one more hug before bed, or a spontaneous "I love you, Mommy." It is a reminder that jolts me out of my robotic trance and prods me to take hold of the moments I can treasure; the moments that are filled with laughter and happiness, or even tears and a little faith that things will get better.
Not every minute is priceless, but we have to take the good with the bad. And, when the special moments do come along, we have to remember to embrace them. So when my children laugh, I will laugh with them. I will smile until my cheeks hurt. I will make ridiculous, cheesy jokes about a stink bug in the sink that is now a sink stink bug. (Yes, I really said that on this particular occasion.) I will drink it all in, remember it, and hold it dear, because it is those moments that make all the imperfect times so incredibly worth it.
Even when they should be doing their homework.