It was a hectic morning. My two year old son Daniel woke me up saying that he had a dirty diaper. And the smell told me he was not lying. When I picked him up out of his bed I noticed that his clothes, and the sheets and pillow and mattress were all wet. And when I took off his pants to change him, he darted away from me mischievously, his overfull diaper spilling some mushy brown contents on the carpet. We had been traveling for two days, I was tired, had a headache, and hadn’t showered in days. I felt like giving up.
At that moment, my three week old woke up, crying to be fed.
Thankfully I was visiting family for the week, and so my mom helped me get Daniel into the tub and held the baby while I ran downstairs to get soap and a towel. While rummaging in my suitcase, I heard my 87 year old grandpa creak down the stairs.
“How is your morning going?” he asked, taking a seat in the maroon armchair by the pool table and ancient exercise bike in their rec room which doubled as a guest bedroom.
“Chaotic,” I said, explaining the morning’s events and managing a weak half-smile.
“Do you have a couple minutes?” he said, rocking back and forth in the chair, smiling.
I thought my story would make it obvious that I did not have a few minutes at that moment. And I almost said, “No. Let me just run this soap upstairs and grab the baby and then I’ll come back down and talk.” But something about the way that my grandpa was sitting, rocking so calmly, his face lit with delight that we had come to visit, made me pause. So I sat down on the chair beside him.
“Come sit on my lap,” he said. “I don’t get to hold you very often.”
I went from being a frazzled mother to a little child. While my grandpa, who has battled cancer for many years now, rocked me I held back sobs, but tears escaped.
“I’m so glad you could come,” Grandpa began. “I love you and I’m real proud of you.”
I can’t even remember all the words he shared, but I do remember my emotions. I felt like I had been lifted out of the chaos of the moment and granted a moment outside of time. My grandpa reminded me that amidst the busyness of parenting and all of its important responsibilities, there are few responsibilities as important as being present—listening and loving even while there are diapers to change and babies to feed.