I was bowled over by the response to my post last week on the pinch of watching your babies grow. I received so many direct messages and emails, and several friends and fellow creatives shared bits of my essay on their own Instagram accounts. One of the loveliest and most stirring responses I received was from a Magpie who shared this post from creative Allie Royal:
I treasure this re-frame. It brought me to a pause; as good a reminder as any to shift from a scarcity mindset to one of abundance. There will be more days, more moments, more memories. And we contain all the version of our babies to boot. “I will fill your hands and I will your heart” — amen.
In a similar heart-on-my-sleeve vein, I wanted to re-publish today a modestly-edited musing I wrote awhile back about honoring my children, making a space for them, in the rush of the every day. Every time I think of the phrase “It’s their day, too,” a lump forms in my throat. Their needs are (though individually small) many, and remembering to consider what the day looks like from their vantage is easy for me to forget. Today, taking a minute to look at the world through their eyes.
At some point over the last year, I came across an essay by Katie Blackburn in which she shared the perspective that although some days feel like a progress-less wash of repetitions, “it’s their day, too.” By this she meant that her children, active participants in the very day she had just heaved a sigh over, might have a very different outlook on the day’s happenings. Where we might see piles of laundry, meltdowns, and too many refills of the snack cup, they might remember playing magnatiles with you on the floor, your soothing voice talking them through a blowup with a sibling, and “the day my mom finally let me have those snacks I’ve been begging for all month.” I have been treasuring this perspective. It has left me feeling better about slow weekends during which the highlight is a trip to the public library and no one is out of pajamas until 10 and though I might lose my patience enforcing this or that rule (currently: staying seated at the dining room table), I have made my point through tedious correction after tedious correction and trust that these rules of decorum will eventually percolate because I am putting in the time. I wrote not long ago that “Maybe I have done the hard work of motherhood and not even realized it because I tend to mistake “progress” for “folded laundry” and “a completed to-do list” rather than the hundred tiny and un-notable interactions of love that go into parenting every single day.” This feels doubly true when I remember “it’s their day, too.” My children do not care if my bed is made or I have crossed everything off of my to-do list. They care that I listen to their rambling stories about the bunny (“Thumper,” we call him) that traipses through our backyard, and murmur empathy over skinned knees from earlier today (“look, mama!”), and permit them to flop into my lap with a stack of books, and speak gibberish while playing “Barbs” with them.
Too often, I tell my children: “in a minute” or “not right now.” I feel appropriately chastised at this moment by remembering “it’s their day, too.” My children are not inconveniences, or afterthoughts, to be worked around or ushered from Point A to Point B. They are at the heart of my day. They are its heart. Of course, it is not possible to arrest all housework and play all day long, but I could stand to say “yes” more often. I was made keenly aware of this last night when mini asked us if we could play “Ariel” after dinner, and, though we are normally afluster during that crescent of time before bed as we rapidly clean the kitchen, clear the plates, feed and walk the dog, and retire toys to their appropriate bins, we both said, “Yes.” For fifteen minutes, we accommodated her labyrinthine rules of play, donning strange voices and spiraling around the family room. For fifteen minutes, she absolutely beamed. It was her day, too.
+We have grasscloth wall coverings with a circular pattern imprinted on it in our powder room and this cane rattan bin coordinates SO well with it. I use it to keep extra toilet paper, tissue paper, and hand towels on the exposed shelf beneath the sink. A small thing but it sparks joy every time I see it.
+Pretty floaty dress.
+Dunno why, but I’m dreaming of that shirt tucked into white Agolde jean shorts (<<on sale)!
+Fool-proof way to preoccupy toddlers on a rainy morning.
+Eyeing one of these “casita” dresses for the upcoming summer.
+More chic beach-friendly finds.
+For my brides…this white gown is spectacular. For a formal rehearsal dinner?
+This precious Luli and Me dress is 50% off and PERFECT for Easter Sunday.
+Speaking of Easter: I have a set of faux-moss bunnies I bring out for our Easter tablescape every year and they are SO adorable/fun.
+These high-rise jeans have sold out a few times…keep an eye out for restocks!
+A sophisticated take on hot pink.