Today, washing the dishes came second to playing with my kids.
If you visited my home today (and I’m glad you didn’t), you would have seen a kitchen bench covered in pots, pans, plates and cutlery, some leftover food and a couple of glasses and mugs. But you would have also seen a mother and two of her children playing Uno and Trouble, and having a laugh.
Miss 6 was home sick with a cold, and instead of making her rest in bed while I carried on with my day, she wanted to play games with me. She begged me for about two hours, and I finally gave in after my second coffee, and I’m so glad I gave in to her. We spent three hours playing, laughing and teaching Miss 4 the difference between a number “2” card and a “Draw 2”.
I could have refused to play with my girls- I had plenty of other things that I could have occupied my time with as there’s always something you can do to distract yourself, but sharing a special moment like this together with my kids is something that I will someday look back on with fondness. The housework will always be around, bills will always have to be paid and groceries will always need to be purchased, but a child wanting to play a game with her mother may not last many more years.
One day, mum will be uncool to hang out with and friends will take priority.
It’s like that old Harry Chapin song, “Cat’s in the Cradle”, where the father is too busy to play ball with his son and before he knows it, his son is a grown man who has turned out just like him- too busy to spend time with his father. The sad irony.
Kids remember things about their childhoods that you would not expect them to remember- not the expensive toys they owned, but the random moments that we consider trivial. Miss 10 remembers throwing an apple core out the car window, and every time we drive past the place where she threw the apple core, she brings up the story.
Playing Uno and Trouble today is probably going to be Miss 6’s “apple core” story- something she will talk about in years to come- and I’m glad to have sacrificed a clean house for a memory my kids can cherish forever.