“Let’s play Monopoly,” says my seven-year-old as my little princess tags along behind him, her tiny palms curled around a handful of felt pens, her happy smile revealing a set of tiny multicolored teeth. I roll my eyes in apparent indignation. I look around infuriated at my home which screams for attention. The living room has doubled into my little princess’s playground with teddy bears, toys, her story and rhymes books or whatever is left of them, the cushions all bundled up in one corner gleefully christened as ‘my mountain’ and the white floor is a colorful mess all thanks to her latest interest – felt pens, that have been confiscated from Sid’s school bag. The dining table has become Sid’s study with books still waiting to be sorted into his bag. I haven’t forgotten the laundry that is waiting to be taken care of and the dishes that have magically found its way into the sink after a morning spent whipping up and now having devoured a hearty weekend breakfast.(Yes, in the Middle East we start our weekend a day before the rest of the world does – Friday and Saturday to be precise)
“Who is going to cook lunch,” I ask weakly, my mind intent on setting my home right but my heart out to have some time with the children.
“We could order takeaways. It’s a Friday ” came the response from the husband who has not moved an inch from the couch all morning and is on movie #3.
“Please,” pleaded my son. “Peeeeasse,” resonated my little princess.
“Okay,” I smiled. How could I not?
‘Mission Cleaning’ has to wait I tell myself ignoring the unconvinced, protesting voice of ‘logic’.
I quickly give my little princess a wash, scrubbing away ink stains from her teeth, her chubby baby face and feet while her hands refuse to part with a few felt pens that she claims to be rightfully hers. Takeaways have been ordered.
The husband has abandoned his movie and decided to join in the game.
“Ready?” asks Sid, his smile and excitement at playing his favorite game evident.
It is a fun afternoon spent exchanging colorful pieces of the ‘M’ currency for utilities, stations, malls and roads. We argue with the rules, we laugh when the other lands up in jail, we pretend to say a prayer to charm ‘lady luck’ before rolling the dice, we sulk in mock anger as we sheepishly hand over rent from our dwindling roll of ‘M’currency. It’s a fun weekend afternoon very well spent.
Robin Sharma quotes, “Your children are the greatest blessings of your life and they will only be young once. Put them first and your life will soar.”
Yes, they are young only once. Sid is growing fast, the days spent running around the house with a broom in his hand claiming himself as ‘Sid’ the wizard or the evenings at the park as he sheepishly gets up the slide but refuses to slide down are just a memory. My little princess is steadily growing up and soon the teddys and her dolls will join Sid’s old car collection on the roof of their cupboard.
Did I enjoy their babyhood enough?
Am I treating their childhood as more of a chore?
Am I creating enough happy moments for them without spending my day worrying about toys strewn on the floor or those crumbs of bread left after a happy meal or the unmade bed after another game of pillow fight?
Are my tears of frustration more than my tears of joy at their little achievements?
I remind myself that I must relish every bit of their childhood innocence, their silly games, their giggles, their constant banter before they join the other memories, most of which are frozen inside pretty frames in our living room.
Just a few years from now, after the kids are out in the world to chase their dreams, I will be left with a home too clean and too quiet for comfort. I might as well enjoy the messy joys of childhood while it lasts.
It was indeed a very happy Friday with lots of fun, giggles and yummy takeaways. Hope to have many many more of such blissful weekends.