Why You Need to Press the Pause Button on Your Life
“Mom!” My two-year-old sprints into my bedroom, hair flying, eyes wide. “Mom!”
“What’s the matter??” A couple clean clothes rest in neat piles on the bed. The others tumble from the hamper, like they’re tripping over themselves to hear what Marie will say next.
“The music started and you weren’t there! I paused my show so you can dance with me.”
The 30-minute show is supposed to be mommy’s time to get work done around the house. That’s the only reason she’s watching it, after all.
Didn’t she see the mountain of laundry? Or the counter tops littered with days old mail? Or the dust bunnies hopping around on the floor where she played?
All of those things cry out for my attention, too. They irk and annoy me like thorns in my side, throbbing and aching until they’re removed.
But it’s impossible to be in two places at once. Impossible to perform surgery on my thorn-stuck sides while holding my toddler at the same time.
I pick the small girl off the floor and carry her back into the living room. Sure enough, Mickey’s there too, frozen mid-wave as he invites everyone to his clubhouse.
Together, we resume the show and I dance to the music with my daughter in my arms.
That’s what she was really asking for. To dance with me. To be held in a way only her mother can hold her.
The song is short, but we dance as much as we can. When it’s over, I set her down and give her a kiss on the head.
“Thanks for dancing with me,” I say, then return to my obligations.
Later that afternoon, I speedily empty the bottom rack of the dishwasher. All that’s left now is a few items on top. And if I don’t do it before my one-year-old wakes up, I’ll spend more time telling her to get out of the dishwasher than actually putting away the dishes.
Plate by plate, cup by cup, my task gets completed. It feels good. Almost like a sigh of relief.
“Mom,” Marie says. “Will you color with me?” She’s already hunched over a coloring book, scratching at its pages with a bright blue crayon.
“I have to unload the—”
My daughter waits expectantly for my answer, her color clutched in her tiny hand like a precious sapphire.
Any other day, I would have pressed on, tackling the task until it was complete. But this time, I point my remote at the dishes and press pause.
“You know what, kiddo? I can absolutely color with you.”
I leave the half-empty dishwasher behind me and the small girl squeals with delight. Turns out my daughter’s joy is the salve for irritating thorn wounds.
My two-year-old once told me that life is a kind of music. And she’s right. What she doesn’t know is that the song is much too short.
But while it’s playing, I will dance as much as I can.