There's a pile of clean laundry at the end of my bed. A big pile. It's been there since Monday. It needs to be folded and put away.
You know what I did last night when I had time to fold the laundry? I played a game with my family and watched a hockey game with my 9-year-old. When I went to bed last night, I actually added another load of clothes to the pile.
I'll probably fold and put away all of that laundry today -- just in time to do it all again. But last night my family needed me.
My younger daughter usually comes in the door from school and hops in my lap. Yes, she's 9. Yes, she's almost too big to sit in my lap. But those precious moments after school are exactly what she needs to recharge after a long day of sitting still and exercising inordinate amounts of self-control. Those moments let her unwind and reset.
We missed those moments yesterday because I was buried under an avalanche of freelance work. I usually try to be done working by the time my girls get home, but for the past two days I've had to work through the afternoon and evening. My younger daughter has missed her recharge time. I've missed enjoying time with my girls, hearing about their days and building them up for the next one.
So, last night, the laundry got set aside. The rest of my work had to wait. Out came the game. I lost both rounds of Jungle Speed. But we had fun. Everyone's emotional batteries got recharged. We laughed together. We fought over who was the speediest. We even had to flip a coin to decide a dispute. My younger daughter and I settled in on the couch to watch the Bruins-Penguins game. We refilled her emotional tank to get her ready for two more days of school.
The laundry didn't get done. And that's OK because our kids are more important than a load of laundry, having dinner on time, and even work. Sometimes, we just have to set it all aside so our focus can be on what our kids need. It's not always convenient. It's rarely ever the way we planned. But sometimes, 20 minutes spent playing a game or reading a book can reset the attitudes in our families and refill the empty emotional tanks.
Psalm 127:3 says "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him." Our kids aren't another thing on our to-do list. They are a reward and a heritage from God. They are a gift to us, one that brightens our days and teaches us to enjoy the little things. Spending time with our kids when they need to recharge is a blessing -- even when we think it isn't. Which is why last night, the laundry simply had to wait.