The clock on the stove said 11:33 pm.
I pulled the Costco sized basket of strawberries from the fridge, and began to cut them into slices. I was rinsing and slicing as fast as I could go, but it didn’t feel like I was making much progress. That’s when I noticed Kai’s tiny hand grasping two strawberry slices from the bowl. Before I could say a word, he was making a beeline for the living room while shoving them into his mouth.
With Kai at bay, I was able to fill a bowl full of strawberries while Kim rinsed a bowl of blueberries. I put four small bowls on the table and filled each with whipped cream before calling the kids to the table.
As much as the kids love ice cream, they will do about anything for a snack of fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Most nights I’d be anxious wondering if their rooms were clean or if their dirty clothes had been tossed down the laundry chute. Last night I spent ten minutes explaining why the Slip’n Slide and inflatable pool couldn’t remain on the grass overnight. Glazed eyes and yawns started 30 seconds into that lecture.
And if every toy was in its place and every tooth had been brushed, I’d wonder why the kids were giving each other wedgies so close to midnight. Although, I must admit, if you’re going to be dishing out wedgies, midnight isn’t a bad time to be doing so.
Before I unleashed them on the fruit, I explained the only two rules:
- Only one piece of fruit at a time
- No intentionally painting face with whipped cream
They agreed and were soon grabbing strawberries and blueberries as fast as they could shove them in their mouths. Luca told me this was “way better than a milkshake”. Anna said we should do this every night. Lincoln licked whipped cream off his arm.
Too many times I’m with my kids but my mind is elsewhere. How many times has one of your children asked you a question and your only reply is, “What did you say?” I’m afraid this happens to me much too often.
But tonight I’m going to celebrate a small victory over distractions. Sure, it didn’t happen until way past everyone’s bedtime, but I don’t care. It happened. That’s what matters. Because that’s what my kids will remember.
When I was young, my mom would sprinkle powered sugar over a bowl of orange slices. As much as I enjoyed the treat, I loved that my mom sat across from me and at table and made me feel important. As was the case tonight, those moments oftentimes took place past my bedtime while my father watched Johnny Carson.
When the fruit was gone, the kids ran off to bed as quickly as they had arrived. I was left to ponder why I don’t do this more often while I stood at the sink rinsing dishes.
Oh, I’m sure they will be tired tomorrow morning. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.