two minutes and forty-three seconds.

My life felt like a scene from a movie tonight for about two minutes and forty-three seconds.

I had just finished a three-kid bath when “Something That I Want” by Grace Potter came through the portable speaker.

I threw a purple hooded towel over Lily’s head and tousled it through her hair. She laughed, and while I pulled her in close to me to kiss her forehead, I caught Sawyer and Norah out of the corner of my eye. They were face-to-face and smiling at the other end of the bathtub.

I sent the girls into their bedroom and carried Sawyer to his with the speaker in hand. I squatted low to get a pair of pajamas out of the bottom drawer of his dresser and promptly lost my balance and fell backward.

Sawyer craned his neck to look at me and laugh and then the girls burst into the room, half-wrapped in towels. They dog-piled us and added to the laughter.

Everyone was happy.

And that made me happy.

This parentsofsmallkids life is something, isn’t it? It moves both slowly and quickly all within the same inhale of a temper tantrum and exhale of extended grace.

It’s filled with juxtapositions and monotonies¹ and failures and victories and stresses and questions and (more frequently than I’d like to admit) months-old spots of dried spit-up.

It bogs me down sometimes.

But then God lets me look in on it from the outside. Tonight, for two minutes and forty three seconds, I saw only my kids’ smiling faces while the scene evolved (thanks to Grace Potter’s peppy number).

It was the scene in the movie meant to remind you that everything is going to be okay. That despite the chaos and conflicts, these kids are loved.

That they’re happy.

I’m no perfect parent (see: too sharp tone tonight when four-year-old decided bedtime might be optional). But I do love my kids, and tonight I was reminded that that deep love goes further than I often realize.

When I looked at my kids tonight, I saw a happy childhood and a reminder to keep doing everything I can (which is certainly not done out of my own strength) to love them well each day.

These are hard years. But they’re good years. And I refuse to wish them away.

I’m thankful for moments like tonight because they remind me to live more fully in my kids’ childhoods with them. To laugh. To smile. To let them smother me even though they aren’t fully clothed.

Oh, and it’s also worth noting that our laughter-filled dog-pile ended when “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” came on next, and in fitting fashion, in the music queue. The girls were promptly sent back to their rooms to get their pajamas on.

This mama doesn’t mess around with bedtime. (Ask the four-year-old.)

¹ sometimes I make up words. this is one of those times.

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