The moment that the words come out the regret creeps in.
"No, not tonight. It's late."
"Can we do it tomorrow? I need to finish the laundry."
We pray and exchange a kiss and their eyes are begging for me to see them. I smooth their hair and kiss them again. And walk away. The book doesn't get read a second time and the unfulfilled promise of quality time hangs in the air. My heart breaks while the laundry gets folded.
There's not a lot in the world that I want. There's a little house at the beach with our names on the mortgage and reliable cars in the driveway. The rooms are fully furnished, the pantry is full and the clothes fit. To ask for anything else isn't necessary and mostly doesn't come. Blessed. Content. Deeply Grateful. That's all me.
However, if the gift of time could really be given I'd get a note right off to Santa. I want to be at the top of the Good List for that one. I desperately need this one thing. The time for laundry and reading the Princess her favorite book a second time. Enough rest for my busy Athlete and the time to chat endlessly about his fear of confessing to God and his disappointment in not winning in the Playoffs. There's just never seems to enough and I fret over the impact it has on them.
I tell myself that they're fine. I tell myself that the notes in lunch boxes, special days without a sibling and "I Love You" every day will carry them through. Still I fret. Will they just stop asking? Am I losing my chance to be the one they go to? The idea paralyzes me.
There's no additional time in our immediate future and I can't afford the level of sad that's creeping over me. They are learning from me that you honor your commitments and you work hard even when you don't want to. I do know in my heart that those concepts will serve them well, but I don't want them to suffer in the interim.
Lord, please help me help their spirits soar. Even at 8 pm on a school night. Amen.