A Little Goes a Long Way

small things

Every parent knows that raising kids comes with its share of joy and challenges. For me things seem to go in ebbs and flows. And this happens to be a stressful time. Between my husband’s intensive travel schedule, coordinating dropping off and picking up my kids from two different places when he’s gone on top of a commute, trying to decide what to do about my son starting Kindergarten in the Fall, dealing with changes at work, and the everyday management of balancing a career with running a household, it’s been a hectic time. I try not to take my frustration out on my kids, but my patience is wearing thin. And I have to be careful about what I say because my daughter has a steel trap memory. If I promise to do something the following day I’d better make good on my word. Or she lets me know about it. A while ago we were talking about practical jokes. I told her about some of the tricks my college roommate played on me. They were silly things, like emptying my cabinets or switching cereal bags into different boxes. But she got such a kick out of it. So I promised her when April Fool’s Day came around I’d play a trick on her.

As I was getting in bed last night I noticed the throw pillows were out of place. When I turned back the covers I discovered my husband’s pillow was on my side. It took me a moment to realize that my daughter had played a joke on us. I realized I hadn’t planned a thing like I promised I would. It was after 10:00 but I knew that I couldn’t go to bed without doing something. So I crept into her room and moved all of the contents of her drawers around. Then I decided I wanted her to notice that something was different right when she woke up. So I starting rearranging items around her room. Then I didn’t want my son to feel left out, so I started switching items between their two rooms. A picture frame of him on her dresser and vice versa, his blanket replaced her stuffed animal, etc. Thirty minutes later I crawled into bed wishing I had planned something earlier because there was lots more I could have done if only I had the time. I could kick myself for not remembering, but I’m so glad my daughter decided to play a trick on us or she would have wound up disappointed.

At 4:00 am my son came into our room to let me know Maddie left some things in his room. I tried to explain that it was a joke and I purposely switched things around. I sent him back to bed but heard him crying 10 minutes later. As it turns out our power went out, only for a minute but it turned his lights off. If I hadn’t done the trick he wouldn’t have come in my room, and then I wouldn’t have been up to reset my alarm clock, which meant I would’ve been late for work and missed an important meeting. I’m lucky it all worked out and my kids got a kick out of a simple gesture. I had debated about doing it because of the late hour and the time involved with putting things back. Was it annoying to come home and have to rearrange drawers and move things back in place? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

Sometimes I make such a big production out of things. I think I have to make big gestures to make a day special.

But I’ve come to realize it’s often the little things that mean the most.

A small act of love goes a long way. Happy April Fool’s Day!

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