"Not right now, buddy. I'm working on science curriculum."
"Well, actually I can just bring it out and sit on a chair in the driveway to watch you. How's that sound?"
I brought the science curriculum out, pulled up a chair, and worked/watched Elliot ride on the road for about 33 seconds before he screeched to a stop in front of me to ask, "Mama, can I pitch to you?"
He pitched. I caught. He was wearing boots so he chased it when it landed in the quickly melting snowbanks. He wanted to me shout "STRIIIIIKE" with great enthusiasm, but I didn't need to tell him if he threw balls. Understandable, I say.
We were looking for the tennis ball in the snow drift when I noticed three chickadees.
"Look, Elliot. Do you see the chickadees?"
He found them and, remembering some information from his big brother's and sister's bird class last year, said their call sounds like chickadee-dee-dee-dee. He whistled it sweetly a few times and then he listened. Ear cocked to the sky. Body bent in concentration. Listening hard.
His eyes lit up, bright as the sun we've impatiently waited for. His voice dropped to a hallowed whisper.
"Mama. Listen. They're saying spring! It's spring!"
We played hard. Once he was done pitching it was my turn. He hit many home runs off of me, tennis ball rolling down the street as Elliot, AKA Joe Mauer or Byron Buxton, ran the bases.
Like an idiot, I almost missed it. I almost sat inside and planned science. Like that is more important than these uninterrupted moments with Elliot while Asher slept and Isaac and Audrey were at musical rehearsal.
Like all parents, all people, we all have 24 hours in a day. Like all parents, all people, the way we choose to spend our time reflects what is most important to us. We may use our words to talk and talk and talk about what we value, but all of those words become but a whisper if we don't support our words with our actions.
My family. These four kids. I want to fill novels in my soul with the memories we've made together in this time we have together.
Of course there are things that have to happen. For example, if I don't cook dinner because I'm playing or reading with my kids, no one wins because we all end up crabby and hungry. And we all know that is one horrible combination, known as hangry. But when I almost choose wasting our first 60 degree day by planning school instead of playing with my boy, that's a problem.
So, today I was almost an idiot. But I wasn't. And I was rewarded with the invitation to share spring with my son and three chickadees.