We just got done with dinner and I was, as usual, busy moving around the kitchen trying to clean everything up. First, the dishes into the dishwasher. Then some clearing of the stove top and the kitchen island. In between, some items needed to be put back in the fridge. When I had most of the surfaces cleared, I grabbed a spray bottle from under the sink and started spraying my surfaces to make sure they're cleaned and sanitized. My nine-year-old Noah was still hovering until I said, "You better go upstairs and prepare for bed. I can't really fully clean everything if you're around". He then quietly walked away.
As I was cleaning something in the sink, I noticed his head still peeking as he was standing by the staircase.
"Hey, what are you doing? I thought I told you to go upstairs. It's bedtime for you soon and you still have to read!"
With that, he ran back towards me with a smile on his face and told me, "Is this what you do when we finish down here? I wanted to see the behind-the-scenes."
I smiled and nodded, threw in a quick 'uh-huh', and I thought he was done. I was surprised when he suddenly wrapped his arms around my torso and tenderly said to me, "Thank you for all that you do, Mama."
Tell me how to keep my heart from melting...
Tell me how to keep from looking up to the heavens and think it's miraculous...
Tell me how not to think that I must have done something right some time, somewhere, somehow, to deserve this beautiful gesture...
Because I don't know how and I simply want to allow myself to feel the pride, the humility, the tenderness and the undeniable power of those words washing over me.
As parents, we often do our work in the shadows, sometimes literally. Especially for a stay-at-home-parent like myself, most of my work is invisible and it's very easy to miss the difference we make. We fix beds, wash, fold and iron clothes, mop floors, dust surfaces, make meals, drive our kids around to appointments and activities, monitor school work, clean bathrooms, stock the fridge and pantry. If our families don't take the time to pause, the work we choose to do day in and day out can simply be mistaken for 'normal' or 'just how things are'. It takes a keen sensitivity and definitely a grateful heart to see the perfection behind the production that goes on, the amount of love put in to ensure the daily performances flow smoothly. Not everyone cares to acknowledge that it takes passion and dedication to keep things from falling apart and to truly make daily life seamless for our families. We may not need trophies to inspire us to keep doing what we do; no demands made for accolades for the behind-the-scenes quiet sacrifices. But time and again, a simple thank you and I see you could be the perfect motivation to keep the show running.