The In Between Days
There were days,
There were days,
And there were days between…
The past week has been one of those weeks overwhelmed with craziness. Both the boys somehow have stayed awake way past bedtime, I’ve been overwhelmed trying to plan a birthday party for a very special little someone while everyone we know has decided to go on vacation that weekend, and there’s just been a lot of little things to do that have added up to big things.
The weather shot up to almost 100 degrees at the beginning of the week and we’ve been suffering a type of cabin fever that’s only supposed to happen in the dead of winter. It was a whirlwind of a week, the kind where you are busy every moment of the day, but by the time you lay your head to sleep, you can’t recall a single thing you’ve accomplished. It’s made for a grumpy mama, the type of mama I don’t like to be.
The boys have been making the most of their summer vacation. They’re still waking up bright and early, which means their tired mama also wakes up early to cries of “wake up Mama! Time for breakfast. Rise and shine!” The slight calming effect that the early heat has had on them has made it easier for me to get them to settle round and read a book with me, when normally they’d be off chasing each other through the house.
Because I’ve had so much to keep up on, I was unable to do all the things I normally do throughout the day – make a well-rounded dinner, get any notable cleaning or laundry done, or work on any projects. Instead, I just hung out on the sofa, iced tea nearby, air conditioner blasting, and two bubbly little boys with favorite books in their hands and sparkling eyes. They snuggled up next to me on the sofa and I read them book after book until my throat couldn’t take any more reading. Then we popped in a few of our books on CD (the ones where you can read along and turn the page to) and I let technology finish telling them the stories they love to hear.
It wasn’t until the silence of night, however, that I realized, instead of another wasted day, that it was actually a memorable day, and that hour or so of cuddling and reading together, all drowsy and in slow motion was one of the most noteworthy moments. It is a moment I will likely think back upon and smile when in years to come, I think back on the in-between moments I spent with my children.
We tend to measure our days in events – the places we went to, the things that we accomplished – the things that are out of the ordinary. But it is the ordinary moments – these in-between moments – that really create our memories.
I remember from my own childhood the memories that I still cherish to this day were not the loud birthday parties or the family vacations. I remember watching the squirrels in the backyard from the dining room window on a spring day. I remember the taste of raspberries from my grandfather’s garden, and watching the ants crawl around them. I remember the smell of the old, loud wall unit air conditioner we had in our dining room that would get turned on the hottest of summer days, and we’d all lock ourselves in there to escape the heat. I remember the patterns of the floor in the kitchen, and the grooves in it that the kitchen table had made in its 20 years of being in that same spot.
It’s the treasured memories of just being together as a family, whether gathered around the dining room table for game night, or talking late into the night hours on the front porch, that remain prominent in my mind about my own childhood. It was the in-between days that made the most impact.
I wonder what simple things that I take for granted that my boys will treasure most about their childhood memories. Will it be the days snuggled up together reading stories? Will it be the smell of magic markers, or perhaps helping Mama make a sandwich for lunch? Maybe it will be the straggling out into the living room to get Mama in the middle of the night when she’s up late working, and all the night sounds that go with that? What kind of wonders will they find in our kitchen floor? In the patterns on the sofa?
I may never know these things. But I do know that the in-between moments just might be more important than the big moments. In any case, they are worth holding on to and treasuring the same as our big holiday celebrations and family trips.
Some day, I’ll look around my living room and all the messes of stacks of books will be gone. The blocks won’t be left on the play table in elaborate compositions, and the train tracks will be tucked away in a box in an attic, and not in a miniature version of the hills and streets that surround our home. Those little moments are the in between moments that a mother will remember… and someday miss.
I hope to cherish every in-between moment that I can.