When I was finally home, I had a choice to make. Did I start to clean the mess that was my house - breakfast still evident in the kitchen, piles of clothes, shoes and socks littered in the laundry room, various toys strewn all about.
Or did I sit down with my laptop and troll Facebook, send some Tweets, and catch up on e-mail and blog reading?
No, I decided instead to set my priorities. I put on my running shorts and tennis shoes and asked the boys if they wanted to go for a walk with me. Slim decided to stay home with Daddy and throw balls around the backyard, but the three others set out with me.
We went for a great walk! In all, I walked/ran (remember 'cause that's what I do) and the boys scootered about two and a half miles.
Halfway down the trail we chose, we came upon a small pond. The boys could see ducks, so they asked if they could go closer. We sat for a long time watching the ducks bob for fish, wiggling their tail feathers in the air. We watched as frogs jumped out of the water onto a piece of driftwood. We counted the other sets of frog eyes peering out of the water at us. And we listened to the geese honk from across the pond.
We sat for a long time, just watching and talking and showing Baby E all the animals. I thought about how this was the last day before school started again. Before Cub Scouts and soccer and speech therapy and homework and countless other obligations begin again. And I was really glad I asked the boys to walk with me.
Even when they started complaining on the way home, I kept a smile on my face (we had walked a long way after all). To think I could have missed it. I could have been buried in laundry or tied to my computer trying to figure out more about SEO.
No, it really is all about priorities. Tomorrow school starts, and my time with my boys will be significantly less. It will be more structured and, probably, a lot more stressful.
Today was just what we needed as an unofficial end to our summer time together. I'm glad I had my priorities straight.
The director of my sons' preschool is one of the sweetest, wackiest-in-the-cutest-way, soft-hearted people I've ever met. Every year she includes the same poem in the preschool parents' packet, and I just love it. It is the perfect reminder of what's really important. I've posted it before, but it bears repeating, today and often.
To My Child by Sally Meyer
Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.
Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.
Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.
Just for this morning, I will leave the dirty dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.
Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.
Just for this afternoon, I will not yell once, not even a tiny grumble when you scream and whine for the ice cream truck, and I will buy you one if he comes by.
Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.
Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.
Just for this afternoon, I will take you to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.
Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.
Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.
Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.
Just for this evening, I will snuggle beside you for hours and miss my favorite t.v. shows.
Just for this evening when I run my fingers through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.
I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms watching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.
And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day......
Here's to a wonderful and safe school year for all our children!