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The Most Important Thing

June 24, 2010

After being away for the day yesterday, today hit me rather hard.

Laundry and other household jobs had piled up, but it was my children who — having keenly felt my absence yesterday — seemed to pull at me the most.

From the moment I got out of bed, they pelted me with questions, needs, and requests:

Can we go to the library? Can I have some juice? Will you tie my sneaker? When can we go to the lake? What’s for lunch? Where are my blue shorts? When does camp start? Are you going to the store today?

Tired from my own work, I wasn’t exactly up for it. I was tempted to be ungracious.

No, I wanted to say. Not now. Maybe not ever. Please, just give me some quiet. Give me some space.

I was feeling just this way as I lugged a load of wet laundry to the clothesline this afternoon when 3-year-old Daniel stopped me.

“Mama?” he said, his dark brown eyes focused on me with earnest. “Wanna see my snakey?”

“Is it very far away?” I hesitated.

“No,” he answered cheerfully as he took my hand and pulled me toward a large white pail in the yard.

I left the laundry basket in the grass and followed him. Then, as the two of us sat in the sun, peering into a muddied pail together, I saw his snakey. It had bright black eyes and a small pink tongue that flicked at me curiously. Daniel’s small hands clung to the edge of the pail as his eyes peered over its edge, smiling at me.

Sometimes, I thought, the most important thing a mom can do is to let go of it all … and go to see the snakey.

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