Children are Only Small Once

Jun 3, 2009

My 6-yr-old daughter blurted out an odd and yet, sadly insightful, statement this evening.

“You know what Mommy always says to me?”

“No, what does she say, Jordan?” my husband asked.

“Come on.”

“What do you mean?” I asked her, confused.

Imitating me, in her 6-year-old way, she said, “Come on, Jordan. Come on.”

Oh. That’s what she meant.

I tried to make light of what she said. “Well, I guess that you’re a big slow poke. Either that or I’m in a hurry all the time.”

And then, I changed the subject and we all moved on.

At least, everyone else seemed to move on. I, however, couldn’t stop thinking about what she said. And, to make matters worse, I began to notice, for the rest of the evening, that she was right. I DO say “Come on, Jordan” - and I say it an awful lot.

“Come on, Jordan. Get out of the tub.”

"Come on, Jordan. Get in bed. It’s past your bedtime.”

“Get out of your brother’s room, Jordan. I need to put him to bed. Come on.”

Now, in my defense, Jordan can dilly-dally with the best of them. She can stall turning off the TV after you’ve asked her to 45 times until you’re completely sure she must have hearing loss. She can drag out getting out of the car for so long, it will make you wonder if she’d like to just move in there. And, just when I think Jordan must be completely dressed and ready for bed, teeth brushed and all, I’ll go upstairs and still find her dancing and looking at herself in the mirror – not having moved at all closer to being in her pajamas.

But, I couldn’t help wonder, as I heard myself say it to her tonight, no less than 15 times, what was all the rushing about? Where were we trying to go and why did I seem to think we needed to get there in such a hurry?

Sure, there are times in our busy life, with three children and two working parents, when we need to move quickly. Weekday morning, for instance. On those mornings, it seems we are always running late and I’m constantly saying to my 2-year-old, “Do you want Jordan to get a tardy?” Someday, he’s going to need therapy and the first thing he’ll tell the shrink is, “I’m responsible for all the tardies my sister got . . . What’s a tardy, anyway?” Yes, on those mornings, I know I’m justified when I say, “Come on, Jordan. Why don’t you have your glasses on? You know you need your glasses for school!

And, we need to skidattle when it’s the baby’s nap time and if we don’t get him home in time for it, he’ll fall asleep in the car and that will not just ruin my whole day, but everyone else’s. So, I have no guilt over saying, “Jordan, get off the swing. We have to get home. Come on!”

But, tonight was a weekend night. We weren’t going anywhere. We had nothing that we had to do. We were just hanging out as a family. So, why was I rushing and why, even though I was conscious that I was saying it, over and over and over again, could I not stop telling my 6-year-old to “Come on.”

When my husband was in Iraq, and I was raising, alone, our then 1-year-old daughter, I felt I was just going through the motions of life, but not really living it. I just wanted the 18-month separation to be over so badly, that I was living for the end of each day. Rob used to tell me, in emails and over the phone, “Stop wishing away this time. This is precious time you have with our daughter that I would do anything to have. Don’t wish it away.” And, of course, he was right. Though at the time, the days and months seemed to drag on, now looking back, those 18-months of my now-6-year-old daughter’s life seem to have flown by. And, do I even remember them clearly? Did I ever sit back to just enjoy her or breathe in her scent or put together just one more puzzle with her? Or, was I too busy counting down the days until my husband got back that I didn’t’ realize I was actually counting down the days of my daughter’s babyhood.

That’s not much different than what I’m doing now, is it? Each time I say, “Come on, Jordan,” I am hurrying her out of my life. For, before I know it, she’ll be grown – or, at least, think she’s grown and not want to hang around with “ol’ Mom” anymore. My chance to hang onto to her, to enjoy watching her dance in front of that mirror, without a care in the world, will be over. And, what will I have to show for it? A schedule that we kept. Maybe a kid with the least amount of tardies in history.

But, worst of all, at the age of six, when thinking about what Mommy says to her, the first thing that popped into her head wasn’t, “I love you” or “You’re the best daughter ever” (both of which I say - a lot). No. What has stuck with my daughter is that her mom is always hurrying her along. Never wanting to dilly or dally or linger a little longer together. Is that the memory I want my daughter to have of her mom? Is that the memory I want to have of the way my daughter viewed me when she was a child?

I made sure Jordan was in bed by 8 pm tonight. She does, after all, have school tomorrow. And, I confess, after a very long weekend with all three kids, I was anxious to climb under my covers and turn on Desperate Housewives. We said our prayers. I kissed her goodnight. “Sleep tight,” I said.

“Mommy, can you read me just a little bit of a story.”


“Come on, Jordan. Mommy wants to go to bed, too.”

I almost said it, but I didn’t.

“Okay,” I said. “But just a little. You have a busy day tomorrow.”

She smiled and picked out a book. I lied down on her bed and began to read.

“Come on,” I told myself as I began to read, “she’s only small once.”


My Lil Guyz said...

My almost 6 year old son is the same way!! He dilly dallys with everything. He is always the last one to eat his snack at school, always the last in line to everything. He just mozies slowly to everything he does. My words are always, Hurry up.... I guess everyone mom, has their rush word...

Jen Gottlick said...

Love this...makes me realize how much I "rush along" the time and the days that I know I will look back on and wish I still had. Thanks Kelly!! "Come on", let's enjoy these days as Mommmys :)
Jen G.

Post a Comment

I welcome any comments on all my blog posts. I look forward to hearing from you.

Savvy Moxie Copyright © 2009 Savvy Moxie is Designed by Ipietoon