I was on a roll. After weeks of having task after task pile up and doing my best to just stay above water, I was now laying waste to a to do list and email box that had seemed hopelessly out of control.
I felt like a castaway who was adrift at sea for weeks but could finally see paradise on the horizon.
Just then, my eleven-year-old daughter came bounding into my room demanding playfully “Lift me up!”
Mildly annoyed I resisted this curious request that she makes on occasion. The origin for this little cat and mouse game is hard to peg. As she has grown up, it is a reminder that she is still my little girl. My ability to lift her 85 pound body and carry her around the house harkens back to an easier time when the piggy back rides for her toddler self were a nightly routine.
In the moment, I was not thinking about her request nostalgically. Rather, I was resisting it, trying to steal away a few more minutes to get another project wrapped up, five more emails out of the inbox.
Still, she persisted. After I scurried to my room, and locked the door, she grabbed a hairpin and picked the lock. Then when I absurdly hid in the closet with my laptop, she enlisted her 8-year-old sister to help push the door open.
Her playful prodding melted my resolve and I put my work away. An epic pillow fight broke out replete with giggles and wrestling on the floor. It culminated with my lifting her up and carrying her around the house in a victory lap which ended in her room as it was time for bed.
When I bent down to give her a kiss good night, she grabbed my neck and said brightly, “I had fun.”
Looking back, it is ridiculous that I had resisted the playful pleading of my daughter for even a minute. There could be no project or email that would be more pressing than accepting an invitation for fun from my daughter who I often lament is growing up too fast. Work will always be there. Moments like these would not.
After she was asleep, I returned to my work, still trying to get to the shore of accomplishment that always seems to be off in the distance regardless of how hard we paddle.
I wrote down on a piece of paper the three words my daughter had said hours earlier, “Lift me up.” Realizing then, that it was she that had done all the lifting.
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