"Mommy, am I ice skating?"
I look up from cooking and see Elizabeth, clad in a short night gown and over-sized Hello Kitty slippers, sliding and laughing across our hardwood floor. She is utter joy clothed in unkempt, blonde bed-head, crooked glasses and a smile so big, it breaks my heart.
I pause. I should finish making brunch. I'm in pj's still, tired from our shared illness, and hungry. But I don't want to miss this. These little moments are where the magic lies. So I put down the chef's knife, slip on my own socks and make her crack up at my purposely clumsy twirls and leaps on my "skates". I don't really want to go back to cooking. So we skate a little bit more and I feel like a kid again.
We miss these moments often, or at least I do. And these moments usually hold more magic than any of the "big" ones we work so hard to plan- the Disney adventures, the airplanes, the grand parties, the school programs. The little moments are what they'll remember. What they'll treasure. If we'll only take the time to stumble on them, like that perfectly intact, sparkling shell on the beach. All the more beautiful because we weren't looking for it at the time.
I want to remember heading out in rain coats and rain boots one ridiculously wet day to "worm hunt" with my kiddos, hands FREEZING as we picked them out of puddles. And I want to remember their surprised laughs and joyful squeals as I turned the worm hunt into a puddle splashing adventure, not caring that we came home dripping wet and freezing... and too late for naps.
I want to remember the "car picnic" in the very back of my Ford Escape while the rain and wind pounded the windows. Me and two little bodies packed together, surrounded by an array of Starbucks bags we used as plates while we enjoyed scones and yogurt and oatmeal and coffee and hot cocoa.
I want to remember the last-minute playroom camp-outs where we ignored bedtime, shared our huge but not overly comfortable fold out bed, popped popcorn and fell asleep together to some animated movie or another.
I want to remember jumping on the trampoline with my son and his friend while the sprinkler was spraying all of us and doing a front flip just to make them laugh.
I want to remember walking out of the house with my daughter's fairy wings strapped to my back and one of her tiaras on my head and going to pick up William from school that way just because she asked if we could be fairies when we picked him up. She and I walked to the front of the school, hand-in-hand, wings out, tiaras sparkling and too busy enjoying the look on her brother's face to care what the other parents might have thought.
Don't miss the little moments folks. I kick myself when I let one by. Let's not get so lost planning the perfect event that we care about WAY more than they ever will, that we forget to stop and draw "whiskers" on our faces with washable marker. While we're busy cleaning our houses, making meals or jumping on the computer to plan that ultimate vacation, let's not forget that deciding to wrestle with them or watch a movie mid-day or go the park after dinner because it's not dark yet, will mean so much more. Because it's the little jewels collected over time, piled up and put together, that they hang on to and treasure most.
I know because, while I have good memories of a Cancun vacation with my folks, or the big trip to Maui we all took... one of my favorite memories is of my twin and mom and I, huddled under a tarp in POURING rain in the Sierras on one of many fishing trips because we weren't going to just give up and head back to the cabin without any fish.