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I used to come home to an empty house and have a few hours to myself before Justin came home. There was time to do whatever I wanted – clean the house (right…), grade papers (sure…), run errands, catch up on my DVR’ed TV (more likely)… And with all that time, I never really appreciated it. Until now. Until this afternoon. That’s when it occurred to me that my perfect night is what I used to take for granted.

Robbie and I went to the store this afternoon to pick up chocolate chips for cookies I needed to bake (and later burn). That kid was everywhere. Pulling Tums off the shelf. Looking longingly at the colorful bags of chips. Knocking over bottles of water. Batting his eyes at fellow shoppers. And then we came home.

Robbie loves to climb the stairs. Loves it. Except for tonight. Tonight he wanted to be carried, and I had four bags of groceries, a purse, Rob’s backpack, and a bag of my work clothes. So, I did what any good mother would do. I grabbed the back of Robbie’s pants and carried him, with the rest of the load, up the stairs. He laughed like a maniac the entire time.

As soon as we got up the stairs, Robbie made a mad dash for the coffee table, where Justin’s drink from the night before sat. It was Robbie’s favorite thing: a cup with a lid and a straw. He put the straw in his mouth and drank. And drank. And drank. And then he ran around the house poking at cats and chasing the dog.

Since Robbie had finished what was in the cup, I decided to give him some more water. Apparently, fast food cups don’t hold their lids as well as sippy cups. I learned this as I saw the cup drop to the floor, spewing water all over the kitchen. And then my son stooped down to play in it. And then he stood up and tried to walk through it. And then he fell.

As much as I love Robbie, I would have given almost anything for a few quiet hours on the couch with a clean house and a dry kitchen floor. And then he turned around, laughed, and threw himself at my legs. And I wouldn’t have traded that for all the quiet time and clean houses in the world.

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