Yesterday afternoon I was returning home from running errands with our youngest daughter. As we pulled into the entrance of our neighborhood I looked in the rearview mirror to catch a quick glance of Lucy. I was thinking that she might be dozing off to sleep.
Sure enough, she was.
With one hand steady on the wheel, I reached back with my opposite hand to give her a poke and tickle. I wanted to keep her awake so that she would easily go down for a nap when we got home. If she fully falls asleep while in the car, the transfer from her car seat to her crib usually brings her wide awake and the nap is shot.
I poke. I tickle. With her eyes still closed, she gives a faint smile. We pull into our driveway and she’s not quite asleep. Victory!
As I pull her out of her seat I can tell she’s barely hanging on. When I carry her inside her usual posture is upright and observant, even if she fighting off sleep. Yesterday, she immediately her head dropped like a rock on my shoulder. As we walked to her room I could feel her fall heavier off to sleep.
The plan was, once she goes down for a nap I was going to jump on a list of chores that needed to be done around the house. Life is extremely full for us right now. We are about to move to Milwaukee, WI in three and a half weeks and we have so much to do. But as we walked into her room it was as though I completely forgot about the list of stuff.
I wrapped her in her sleep sack and we rocked in her rocking chair for a good fifteen minutes. As we rocked, the urgency of the to do list subsided. There was nothing more important that I could be doing.
Moments like that with my kids are getting more and more rare. For all I know that might be one of the last times I get to rock with her like that for that long. There’s always going to be a list of stuff to do. Even if we weren’t moving, life is always busy and full, but I can’t get those moments back.
So, dads with young kids (and I primarily say this to myself), be on the look out for these opportunities and moments. When they arrive take full advantage of them. Don’t let them pass by. Deadlines, to do lists, and busy schedules will always be there, cherished moments with your kids may not.