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While it would have been easier (and cleaner) to make cereal with milk for breakfast, I made pancakes, eggs and bacon so I have a sink full of dishes and a dirty counter to clean. And while I hate looking at messes, when my son asked me if I would sit down next to him so he could read to me after breakfast, I did just that. For forty-five minutes I let him read to me. I can see my kitchen from the living room and so as he read I could see the dishes in the sink and the dirty counter. On the stairs I could see toys that don't belong. I know that upstairs the bed has not been made and that in the guest room there are currently about six loads of clean clothes that need to be folded and put away. But I sat with my son as he read to me. When he asked if he could read to me, I could have said later because I needed to clean but the smile on his face as he laid on my lap and read to me reveals that I made the right choice.
Sometimes the dishes can wait while are making memories.
My children spent hundreds of days visiting their dad in the hospital.
They walked through these hospital doors hundreds of times. And they had over 450 nights where they didn't get to lay on their dad's arm as they fell asleep because he was hospitalized. And so I know how important it is to make memories. The dishes can wait. The laundry can pile up. Working overtime and climbing the career ladder while sacrificing family time is not important.
I don't want the memories my children have of me to be constantly working, always cleaning, consistently telling them later. I want them to remember the times I let them make a make a mess with the flour on the floor so that they can make designs.
I want them to remember the Saturdays we went to the zoo as a family even though the long work week meant there was a lot of household chores that needed to be done.
I want them to remember the days where even though their dad had homework to do he would take them out back and let them run into his arms so he could throw them in the air.
I want them to remember the nights where even though the next day we had to go to work we went to the Tower of Americas because they wanted to see through telescope.
I want them to remember the days where their dad had to practice for Sunday service but he didn't mind them climbing all over and playing his bass guitar with him.
I want them to remember that even though he spent 10 hours a day walking for his job that when they were tired from walking their dad picked them up and placed them on his shoulders.
I want them to remember how even though the job took longer their dad let them help him assemble their toys.
I want them to remember that even though their dad was tired from all the chemo he was getting he would still pick them up and place them on his shoulders.
I want them to remember the days where when he wasn't hospitalized their dad kneeled down next to them as they looked at the animals in the zoo.
I want them to remember the days where their dad spent hours on the floor with them playing with their toys even though his body had been ravaged by the chemo.
I don't want their memories to be filled with the separation from the hospital stays but rather with the times when he was out of the hospital that he would take the kids to the Children's museum and the zoo while I worked.
And when they were tired from riding around the block and didn't want to walk he would carry them on his shoulder and hold their bike.
The toys will eventually get picked up. The dishes will be washed. The laundry will be folded. The beds will be made. But those things can wait while we are making memories.