“Can you push me on the swing, mama,” she asks. This girl. The one who can skip monkey bars and fly through the air without a worry. The one who scales the structure fearlessly. The one who calls to me as she leaps and spins, her voice imploring me to watch and delight in the ways she is mastering the tasks at hand.
She calls me over and asks for a push on the swing. I have just watched her conquer every obstacle at the playground, and know full well she is capable of swinging as high as the clouds all by herself.
It’s no different than him. The one who can pull out the knife to cut his own pumpkin loaf in the morning. The one who practices piano independently, finishes a book on the weekend before breakfast, and builds masterpieces out of Lego. “Hey mom, can you fill up my water bottle for me?”
The requests are seemingly endless. Not just from them, but from everywhere. The gas light begs for attention, the text from the husband reminds me of one more thing, the oven beeps, the laundry buzzes. Everything is vying for attention.
“Can you push me on the swing, mama?” It is so easy to say no. To tell her that she can do it. To remind her that she doesn’t need me to do that for her anymore. Sometimes the requests can feel like too much and I want to carve out a little space where I’m not necessary. Because really, I know she is capable. I often grumble and feel another piece stretched a little too thin.
And the water bottle? “Come on…” I think to myself. I know he’s big enough for this. I know that he can do it. And often, he does. But every now and then I can catch it.
Every now and then I can see for a moment that it’s not about the swing. Or the water bottle. It’s never about the surface stuff, is it?
While I’ve spent the day being pulled in a million directions, tending to a multitude of tasks and filling needs and requests and getting stuff done – they’ve been at school, engaging and learning and growing. And missing their mom. So when they ask for a push, or help with a task that they know how to do even though I feeling at max capacity, sometimes I can remember that it’s not about the thing.
They’re asking for me to connect with them. To take care of them. To show interest in them. To remind them in a million seemingly ridiculous and small ways that I am for them, on their team, and there to support them.
Now I surely don’t always give the push, fill the bottle, or complete whatever seemingly mundane and often superfluous task that is asked. But every now and then I sure am thankful for eyes to see that swings and water bottles have more to do with reconnecting and filling up love tanks than anything else.
I wonder how often we face those ridiculous requests from those we love, and how quickly we brush them off as someone being lazy, or not appreciating all that we do, or as someone simply being selfish and failing to see how hard we’re already working. My hope for you as you go through your day is that you, too, would have eyes to see that maybe some of those things…the back that needs scratching, room that needs to be tidied, or bunchy sock that needs to be fixed might just be about a little more than it seems to be, and that in doing one more thing that you would be able to tangibly grasp the outflow of love that is pouring into the people you work so hard to care for.