Your Grandma gave me a poem that I keep on the refrigerator; I read it when I need a reminder that the everyday little things will be the ones that carry the most love and importance as time goes on. She had it secretly tucked behind a photo of us three kids – it had been there since we were babies. One night when I was stressing about something, complaining about something, or worried about something (or maybe all three), she gave me the gist of it. “When kids are little and our lives are so busy, it’s easy not to stop and play. But then, our hands turn old and there is nothing to keep them busy anymore. When that happens, we wish we would have lingered longer at your door after you fell asleep, read you one more book…”
As she described the message in the poem, tears came to my eyes – I saw my grandmother’s hands, gently clutching her coffee mug as she sat quietly at her kitchen table. I saw her 4 children all grown up, not needing her to take care of them anymore. It’s easy to let everyday tasks get in the way of reading one more book, singing one more song, playing one more game. And of course, looking back, do we want to remember getting all the laundry done?
Andrew, you can play one game a hundred times over and over again. You are never satisfied when the game ends. When we put on your favorite song and start dancing, in the end, you always exclaim, “Again! Again!” When I make funny faces at you, you laugh and shout, “Do it again!” Getting ready for bed, you race down the hallway and tumble into me, always begging, “Just one more time!” It’s too easy for me to answer, “Mommy’s tired.” Or, “I have work to do.” Or, “We’ll do it again later.”
I don’t think you will notice that I did too many chores, or worked long hours, or that we didn’t have enough fun together. But I will. As you grow older, you will think I am a fine mom – hopefully a wonderful mom! And I will become the one who always wants to do it again – one more time touching your sweet little face, one more time hearing your infectious giggle, and one more time doing all the little things that make each day so memorable. I keep this poem on the refrigerator, as a reminder to say yes when you ask me, “Again! Again!” Today, I can read the poem and be happy I am a young mother with young children – I am happy to be able to toss you in the air one more time, sit and play with you a little longer, and watch you sleep.
To My Grown-Up Child
By Alice E. Chase
My hands were busy through the day,
I didn’t have much time to play
The little games you asked me to.
I didn’t have much time for you.
I’d wash your clothes,
I’d sew and cook.
But when you’d bring your picture book,
And ask me please to share your fun,
I’d say, “A little later, hon.”
I’d tuck you in all safe at night
And hear your prayers, turn out the light.
Then tip-toe softly to the door,
I wish I’d stayed a minute more.
For life is short, the years rush past
A little child grows up so fast.
No longer are they at our side,
Their precious secrets to confide.
The picture books are put away,
There are no longer games to play.
No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear.
That all belongs to yesteryear.
My hands, once busy, now lie still,
The days are long and hard to fill.
I wish I could go back and do
The little things you asked me to.