Lately, Dylan has been saying this one sentence all the time, which is going to ruin me. He says, in this sad, slightly whiny voice, "Mommy, I want you to play with me!" I hear it when I am unloading the dishwasher. I hear it when I'm cleaning up after dinner. I hear it when I'm putting away laundry. I hear it while I'm checking emails. It tugs at my heart, and weakens my knees, and more often than not, I find myself with my hand in his, being led off to play. I can't resist it. The words are too powerful, the feelings too pure.
I feel needed, and I like it. Yes, he will always need me, but not like this. He won't always be this small, this innocent, this trusting. I won't always be the center of his world. I won't always be able to fit him in my lap. I won't always be able to make him laugh, by doing something silly. I won't always be the person he wants to play with.
Being a nanny, I have worked with many busy families. There lives are jam packed with work, meetings, exercise, errands, soccer practice, play dates, recitals, lessons, etc. The older kids weren't whining , "Mom/Dad I want you to play with me", but I felt it. They were crying out on the inside. They wanted time to just talk to their moms and dads, to lie on the grass, to play a game, to make a birdhouse or a sandcastle or a memory. There it is - the hardest part of being a parent, in my opinion. How do you juggle it all? How do you find time to spend with your family, and still do all the things that your role as mom (or dad) requires?
Personally, instead of saying, "I'll play with you after I...", I want to spend more time saying, "I'll X, after I play with you". The house will always be there, the dishes will wait, there will always be more laundry, but my kid will only be this age for a short time. I want to play.