‘We had a family movie night. Well, let me take that back. My family had a movie night, while I sat on the floor trying to match the right lids to the right markers and put books back into bins.’

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“We had a family movie night tonight.

Well, let me take that back. My family had a movie night, while I sat on the floor and tried to match the right lids to the right markers and put coloring books back into bins.

Then I got up and made brownies, because I felt like brownies would make my family happy. Then I did the dishes because, well, I felt like I needed to do the dishes. Then I made everyone popcorn, because can you even have a movie night without popcorn?

Then I served everyone the brownies. Then I waited and collected their dirty brownie dishes. Then I went and did a load of laundry.

Then, I heard them laughing in the other room and immediately stopped what I was doing, because what was I doing?

I almost missed it.

I almost missed a chance to chill with my family. I almost missed a chance to be lazy and slow and simple. I almost missed a chance to snuggle up and hold my 4-year-old’s hand. I almost missed a chance to put my feet on my husband’s lap and watch our oldest son put on a performance of Captain America in the living room.

I almost missed a chance to throw popcorn at my husband’s mouth and see if he could catch it. I almost missed a chance to watch my baby eat her first bite of brownie. I almost missed a chance to cheer from the couch when the good guys won in battle.

I almost missed a chance to give my family what they really needed: a night together as a family, as a whole family. A family to which I’m an essential member.

What do your want your family to remember about you? What do you want them to say about you? About their childhood?

That you were busy? That you were restless? That you were distracted? That you were always on the move?

That their house was always clean? That there weren’t ever dirty dishes in the sink? That you always made brownies, or that you always made time to be with them? That you always did what was needed to make your house look good, or that you always did what was needed to make them feel good?

I know. I don’t like the clutter either. It makes me anxious too.

But the truth is, if we want them to feel valuable and worthwhile in the future, we need to spend time with them now.

If we want them to be the kind of parents who stop what they’re doing and make room for their own kids one day, we need to spend time with them now.

If we want the things they say about us when we’re old and gray and dead and gone to be that everything else in this world came second to them, we need to spend time with them now.

The house will always be here. The mess won’t notice if we push it to the side. The dishes won’t grow up while we’re looking the other way, but our kids just might.

We don’t want to look back and say, ‘I missed it,’ so we need to spend time with them now.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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