A Split Second Decision

With so much recent public discussion about the politics of parenting in this macro, policy shifting sense, I’ve been thinking a lot about the dozens of micro choices we make as parents every day. Every moment seems to be a shifting, a debate within ourselves as to how to parent, and what we do about time.

The other morning as I gathered my things, a bag on each arm, my wedges (and my flats), a snack for my commute, my three year old, with his pleading brown eyes looked to me and said, “I want to go with you.” It was in that split second that I had to think, to possibly craft a response, a clever one, a concise one (as I was already a bit behind schedule). I thought to myself, I needed to let him down easy, counter his request with a promise to pick him up from school or take him to school the next day. But in that split second, or maybe many more seconds later, I realized where I was headed (work) was fixed. My job (though I had a big program going on that day) wasn’t going anywhere, it would be there when I got there, even if I got into the office just a few minutes later than I had planned. I would still be early and prepared, the work would still get done, and the program would still go on.

But back in the living room with my three year old, I considered there might not be another ask if in this very moment I said, “no.” My husband questioned whether or not I had time to take him to school, but I thought to myself, “I could make time.” It was such a simple request. He wasn’t asking for anything unreasonable, it wasn’t a major crisis, it was an ask for more time. Time, the thing we all seem to grapple with; and as a parent, the thing that seems to elude me every single day.  In that very moment my son just needed more time with me, and as I rounded out all of the reasons (or maybe excuses) for why I could have said, “not today,” or “maybe later,” I simply said, “o.k.”. He put on his socks, his shoes, and his coat; then grabbed my hand, looked up and smiled. “I’m going with mommy,” he announced. In that very moment nothing else mattered but his hand in mine, walking out the door to school, to work, together.

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Categories: Inspiration, Parenting, Writing

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