"I'm too busy," he says, as he walks around my kitchen with his toy drill, screwing imaginary screws into place every so many inches. "I'm too busy right now to do that for you," and it both stings and makes me laugh in only the way that having your two year old say that to you with a straight face and mean it can.
I want to tell you that I had asked him to pick his sippy cup up from the floor or put away the Legos he was playing with just two minutes prior but the reality is that I summoned him over to my seat at the table for a good morning kiss.
I sit back as I try to recall having ever said that to my children. "I'm too busy right now" which when you cut it down to the bone is really saying, "I'm too busy for you" and it's then that I realize I've said it more times than I care to admit. What was I so busy doing?
Writing to meet a deadline? Folding laundry? Putting the groceries away. Prepping dinner. Mindlessly scrolling Instagram. (I wish I was kidding about that last one). All things that could have easily waited one, two, ten or twenty minutes.
Sometimes I'm an asshole.
I'm tired of making excuses. I'm tired of "allowing myself grace" and blaming that feeling of being pulled too tight in too many directions on "a season of life." For me, doing so is an excuse. A scapegoat. It's allowing me to behave in a way that is beginning to rub off on my highly impressionable children, in a manner that I'm not particularly fond of.
Yes my children need to learn patience. They need to wait their turn. They are expected to listen to what I ask of them but not at the expense of my busyness. Not because I'm "too busy" in the moment to get on the floor and play trucks. To watch my oldest build the same damn Lego truck he's built the same the way every day for the last week. To sit with my middle baby and listen, and I mean really, really listen, to that same story about the goat and the llama and the pirate ship that he tells so passionately.
Of course there will still be days when I'll hide in the bathroom for fifteen minutes while I rot their little minds with television just so I can have some time alone when no one is touching me or needing me or breathing in my general vicinity and I won't feel bad about it at all because I'm human and anyone who's anyone knows it's suffocating to be "on" 24/7.
But the reality is that one day they aren't going to ask me to play with them. To seek them when they hide. To listen to their stories and sing silly songs and draw goofy faces on the Magna Doodle and that day is going to suck really, really hard. When that day comes I want to be able to say, even through stingy tears and that scratchy throat feeling, "It's okay. I'm okay. I've seeked, and I've played and I've listened long and good enough."
Because that's all I can hope to be for my boys. Good enough not sometimes but most times and in the moments when I'm not, when deadlines linger and I'm literally drowning in laundry, to be conscious of those moments so that I can make a better effort to be present for them. To remember what it feels like to be needed in that way and know that I won't always be needed in the same capacity.
To get up and walk away from my busyness and focus on what really matters, what really needs me. And I'll give you a little hint. It isn't deadlines and emails and stupid laundry (which, let's be honest, only ever makes it, rumpled, from the dryer to the basket).
It's these three goobers and I kinda want to be there for them so that when they don't need me anymore (despite how sad of a thought that may be) I won't feel like an asshole. I'll feel like a mother who tried her best and that's good enough for me.