I lovingly sorted his toys into brightly colored bins. I organized his books by language (my husband is bilingual and speaks to our son solely in Spanish) and then by size. I even arranged the army of stuffed animals into a stadium style-seating configuration. When it was done, I stood at the end of the room and marveled at the transformation. My son would have room to move and someday soon, his twin sisters would have room to chase after him.
When he came home from camp, I had a friend with me to record the magical moment when we revealed his awesome new playroom. He was thrilled and exclaimed exuberantly, “Thank you, everyone!” He stayed down there and played for two hours while I unpacked our new home upstairs. That was Monday.
Tuesday he came home from camp and asked to play downstairs again. I felt like I hit a home run and was going to win the award for Mother of the Year! Until the moment (five minutes later) he came upstairs. I was at the computer, finally answering a couple of emails amidst the chaos of settling into our new home, when he climbed on my lap.
“Mama, I just want to hug you. Mama, I just want to kiss you. Mama, I just want to sit on your lap.”
“Please, sweetheart, Mama needs a few more minutes. Can you wait for me downstairs?”
“No, Mama. Come downstairs and cuddle with me.”
He didn’t want to be downstairs anymore. At least not by himself. He wanted me. He wanted to see me, and hear me, and be near me. He wanted to hug me and kiss me and cuddle me when he pleased, and downstairs was just too far away for him to do these things frequently and without warning.
And so I threw my hands up in the air and laughed. Because, what else could I really do?
So I went downstairs. I quickly fell asleep on one of the very inviting bean bag chairs, only to be interrupted by hugs and kisses and an occasional knee slamming down on some part of me as he jumped and played. But it was a small knee, and it won’t be small for very long. The day will come too soon when my kisses will not be welcomed and cuddling with me will not even be last on his list of things he wants to do. The day will come too soon that I am not the most important woman in his life. I know that day will come, but that day is not today.
Today, every toy, game and fantastic playroom in the world cannot replace the love and attention he wants from his mama. I built my son a playroom, and all he wanted was to play with me.