He stares up at me with his father’s eyes and it’s five in the morning, books strewn all over his bed and his two year old hands reaching up to touch my face.
No, I’m shaking my head, no, it’s not time to get up yet, but it’s too late.
And it’s already a no-good, very bad, terrible kind of day.
The coffee stronger than ever and Netflix playing a little longer than usual, I flip through the Bible for some half-hearted devotions then check my email, and Facebook, and Twitter.
And the screen pulls me in, somehow, like a pair of comforting arms.
The boys come into the office and they play at my feet but I don’t really see them. And yet I can smell: Kasher’s pooped in his pajamas.
And soon he’s crying on the potty because we’ve been potty-training him for months now and some weeks he’s good, and other weeks, this. And I’m crying in the bathroom with a pair of soiled underwear in my hands and the coffee isn’t working.
The half-hearted devotions aren’t working, meditating on my first world problems isn’t working, all I want is sleep.
And that’s when I decide I’m done with this.
I’m done with seeing my kids as a nuisance, as a problem to be fixed. I want to see them as they truly are: Precious gifts, moldable human lives, future leaders and teachers and parents.
I want to turn Facebook into Face-time with my family.
I rinse out the undies in the toilet, stick them in a bucket to soak, clean up Kasher and then help him pull on a pair of clean soft pants. Aiden is patting Kasher’s back, feeling badly for him and I sit there on the floor and pull them both to me.
I refuse to let the bad days get to me. And the only way I know how to do this is by spending more time with my children.
Never once have I ever regretted holding my boys.
But I’ve often regretted spending too much time on my laptop. Checking the statuses of people I don’t really know when I don’t even know the status of my own sons.
And so, I make a vow, right then, to live in the present with my pre-schoolers. To not check my email in the morning even though I might miss something on social media–because it will be there later. The posts and the assignments and the “likes” on Facebook will be there later.
My kids will not be.
This does not mean I spend every waking minute with my boys. Yes, I home-school them and we tickle and we read stories, but then they do puzzles while I shower and comb my hair and feel human. But the computer stays off until noon these days, because a kids’ life trumps the computer screen. And the allure of the laptop has proven too strong in the past–the pull of Facebook, the endless tweets.
In three years they’ll both be in school. I’ll have all the time in the world to stare at my screen. And that’s when I’ll miss them.
There are days when I literally ache for the numbing effect of the laptop. My four-year-old talks back and my two-year-old colors on the walls with marker and then they both grab hold of my legs and insist on me pulling them around the house with them attached. There are days when I slip out to the back deck and wish for those days when I was single and productive.
But then I go back into the house and my sons squeal like I haven’t just gotten cross with them and they run into my arms and say, “Mommy, Mommy,” and I will never, ever regret it. This stopping everything in order to hold them. This closing my computer to see them.
This being a present-day mama.
(This post is also appearing today over at MOPS’ blog, Hello Darling)
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