“Name twenty things you love about me,” my younger daughter requested just as I was shutting the door to her bedroom.
Because I immediately thought about the dirty dishes in the sink, the work I had yet to do before I could go to bed, and the ache in my back, I almost said, “Not tonight.”
But I didn’t.
Instead I slowly made my way back to her bed and rattled off things like, “I love your smile … I love the way you sing … I love how you help your friends … I love the way you make me laugh … I love the way you take your time … I love your strong hugs …”
I made it to twenty quite quickly, and I watched the smile on her face get a little bigger with each one.
“Thank you, Mama. I love how you love me,” she offered back as she rolled over preparing to sleep.
It took less than one minute, this little request of hers—but there is a good chance she will remember this list, this very important list.
I don’t always get it right. I don’t.
But over the past three and a half years on this Hands Free journey, my eyes have been opened. I can now see clearly that my days are made up of a million little choices—choices to grasp what really matters or let them slip through my multi-tasking little fingers.
That night I got it right.
I chose the girl who still stands on her tiptoes to reach the sink.
I chose the girl who still likes me to read her bedtime stories and hold her hand in the parking lot.
I chose the girl who sings made-up while offering me dandelion bouquets.
I chose the girl that has wiggly teeth and a contagious laugh.
With the kitchen in disarray and deadlines looming, I chose my child. Because I still can. Today my child stands before me wanting, needing, and hoping to be chosen. Tomorrow might be different.
Whether I grasped what really mattered or let it slip through my fingers came down to one choice—a choice took less than sixty seconds, but yet the memory may very well last a lifetime.
This powerful fact has been giving me a lot of hope lately.
Because honestly, things have been really different around here.