I was home sick with my 6-year-old son today. It hasn't been that long since that has happened, so it was not a completely unusual event. However, he isn't much of a day sleeper so even sick, it's a rare occurrence that he'll sleep during any part of his "day off."When exhaustion caught up with him and he spent the better part of the afternoon passed out on my bed, I was surprised. That was rare. With my older daughter in school and my husband at work, I was suddenly transported back a few years to a different time on our lives. It was a time back before school and before work - a magical era when my kids were small enough to need a nap and I was there to watch them do it.
From the time my 10-year-old daughter was born until my son started first grade, I stayed home every day with my kids. Some days were amazing. Some days were painstakingly challenging. But every day was something I can look back on and smile about. Whether the smile is for remembering a magical moment of happiness and excitement or from laughter at a ridiculously awful event that took place, it is a smile nonetheless. I was told by someone long ago that everything, at some point, no matter how terrible it is, will eventually become funny. I'm still waiting on a few things from my life to show their humorous side...but, never have those words been more true than when it comes to life with my kids. The bad moments at some point become a story, a stepping stone, an anecdote and a vital part of the bond that holds my family together. And the good moments...well, they become framed in my mind, looked back on often, and remembered so fondly it sometimes feels like I am right back there.
This afternoon reminded me of some of those magical moments. I remembered each child napping quietly as I puttered around the house trying to get everything done I needed to get done before they got up. And then, they would get up. That's when the adventure would begin. We didn't have to be anywhere other than where we were. We could just lie on the floor contemplating blocks, reading books, dancing to a silly song...whatever the afternoon brought us. There was no homework, no chores to catch up from after the workday, not a whole lot of talking and the biggest drama in their life was whether they would make it to the potty in time so we could save a pull up.
And even on the afternoons that involved screaming, crying, house vandalization and more, I could never imagine trading any of those moments for the lack of them. They are some of the happiest snippets of the story of my life.
I stood over my son for a little while this afternoon, just watching him sleep. In 3 days he will turn 7, but today, for a little while, he slept peacefully like a baby. I know that for parents, our children will always be our "babies." Today, however, I was really taken back, really reminded that as far away as I get from those magical afternoons all those years ago, in an instant, I can just return to them.