525,600 minutes. This refrain from the musical Rent has been echoing through my mind a lot lately. Every time I hear Micaiah say, "Mommy, look!" or "Help me, Mommy" and I listen to myself respond, for the umpteenth time that day, "Just a minute, Baby."
It's never just a minute. It's a minute while I set the final dish in the dishwasher. Another minute while I run some dish soap over the pan that has to be hand-washed. Still another minute as I refill the ice cube trays. But then I hear Emmett crying and I know he needs to be fed. "Just a minute, Baby." While I blend together mashed bananas with Mommy's milk and a little bit of infant oatmeal, my daughter waits. Waits for her minute.
And they go by so quickly. Before I know it, it's been an hour that my daughter has been waiting for her train track to be set up. Or to sit on the couch and snuggle with Mommy. "Just a minute; I'll be right there, Baby."
Meanwhile, the minutes spent washing dishes which will be dirtied by the end of an hour or cleaning counters which will have crumbs before we settle in for lunch are minutes that could have been spent holding my daughter in my arms. Or hearing sidewalk chalk scribble across the driveway. "Mommy, I want to color sunshine." "Ok, Baby." As her arms reach as high as they can go and I realize she literally wants to touch her crayon to the heat of the sun, I know, this is not a minute wasted.
That's all I have before this time next year - when she won't need my help with the potty, she may not care about Buzz and her dragon, and she won't be surprised to peek behind the flaps of her Dora book. Maybe these changes won't happen by next year, but how many of these years do I have left? Or, for that matter, how many of those 525,600 minutes am I even guaranteed beyond the one I am living right now?
May I measure this year as 525,600 moments cherished rather than minutes spent waiting.