Posted by: littlebitofparadise | September 30, 2013

“Mommy Will You Play With Me?”



“Mommy will you please play with me?”

I hope you didn’t notice the way I cringed when you said those words.

Because I did cringe. And I started to slowly back towards the house, hoping you’d get distracted by your older brother or the slide on the play gym or the Tonka trucks scattered around the yard.

But you didn’t get distracted. Instead, you asked me a second time: “Mommy will you please play with me?”

But sweet child of mine, didn’t you know? Didn’t you know that I had plans for that precious half hour or so of afternoon peace I hoped to find in the house while you played outside?

Didn’t you know that your newborn brother was sleeping – actually SLEEPING – upstairs in his CRIB instead of on my chest? Didn’t you know that the dryer had just beeped and that I was planning to fold and put away the laundry during those few moments of silence?

Didn’t you know it was 4:30 and I wanted to prep dinner while you played, so that our meal would actually be ready on time tonight and I wouldn’t have to cook with low-blood-sugar-crabby toddlers and a newborn pounding my chest for his dinner?

Didn’t you know that I had so many important things to scurry around the house and do during those few moments before the sun decided the afternoon was over and my evening chores begun?


No. You didn’t know any of those things. All you knew was the warm Autumn sun and a gorgeous blue sky and a gentle breeze in your backyard. All you saw was your Mama tying your shoe. All you wanted was someone to throw that little ball with you.

And so you didn’t let me off the hook. You kept asking me your question, looking up at me with those big blue eyes.



Those eyes that nobody can resist – least of all your own Mama.

And so I left my freshly brewed cup of coffee sitting inside on the kitchen counter. I resigned the laundry and the dinner prep to another time, and I leaned towards you to accept the little inflatable ball your chubby dimpled hands were holding ready for mine.

And we played.

Yes, you and I, we played. We threw that little ball back and forth and back again. And you laughed. You squealed and giggled and threw both of your Bubba arms up in the air to exclaim “GOOD JOB MOMMY!” at my pathetic excuse of a throwing arm. At one point you even clapped your hands and said “AWESOME!!”


I didn’t even know you knew that word already.

Your older brother noticed the fun. He left his Tonka trucks pile of dirt construction site and came running over to join us. And then the neighbor girl – the only child next door whose full time nanny says stands at the back door waiting for you and your brother to come outside to play – yes she came to play too, running across her yard towards our fence.

And we all played with that little ball – back and forth and back again.

And we laughed hard and laughed long.

That night, the clean laundry stayed cold and wrinkled in the dryer all night long. Dinner was at least 45 minutes late, and yes – all of you boys were cranky while I prepared it. And the house didn’t get picked up and the coffee that gets me through the late hours didn’t get drunk.

But thanks to you, sweet child of mine, I went to bed without a trace of mommy guilt. Because you had asked me to play, and in the end I had said yes.

Your little 21-month-old mind probably won’t remember this day. You have too many days left in your future to hold this one close and tight.


But your Mama, she’ll remember it.

And one day in the future when all she has is laundry to fold and dinner to cook in her quiet, toddler-free house, she’ll hold on to the memory of balls thrown and caught and little ones laughing.

My little Luke: sometimes your Mama isn’t brave enough to choose the better part. Sometimes she gets caught up in the mundane. She becomes frantic over the to-do lists that threaten to engulf her. And she forgets the important things, like throwing balls and giving high-fives and running in grass with little feet pounding next to her.

Thank you for helping her to remember.

Thank you for asking me to play with you.




  1. Wow. That hits so close to home it hurts…and it’s so beautifully written that it inspires me to do better tomorrow.

  2. 99% of the time I make excuses or redirect my little ones when they beg me to play with them; today, my 5 year old asked me to play, and I couldn’t say no–not after reading this post! It was just for 5-10 minutes and then I had to go help my other young son, but those few minutes made him sooo happy. I’m going to try to do that more often–just a few minutes with Mommy means the world to them.

    • Yes every 5-10 minutes counts! Blessings to you and your little ones 🙂

  3. Stephanie, you are such a wonderful little Mama! I just wanted to come by today and encourage you. I am listening to one of your old talks on CD “Courage Under Fire” right now. You gave this talk when you were 24 years old and now you are a Mama of three! You are so blessed!

    I am not a teen, but bought your CD several years ago because I feel so passionate about the unborn. I really enjoy writing. I was thinking of writing a pro-life fiction book about a single young woman facing an unwanted pregnancy who does not know God. But she comes to know about God in the book. Do you think I might have a chance to reach people especially young people? Do you think there is a need for books like this? I just want people especially young people to know life is a gift and reach others particularly young people. What do you think? I am not quite sure I can pull off writing such a book, but I will try my best. I also have a blog, but it’s mainly about my struggle with endometriosis and trying to conceive. Not many people come and visit my blog. I am thinking of changing it.

    Well, I just wanted to write you and share with you. I’d love to know what you think. By the way, have you ever heard of Carmen Marcoux who wrote a wonderful Catholic fiction book called “Arms of Love”? Just wondering!

    I know you are very busy with your three beautiful little boys (You are so blessed! I know God and the Blessed Mother are so pleased with you and your husband how you are raising your boys!), but if you get the chance I’d love to hear from you sometime. I’ve been a big fan of yours, your Dad, and Family Life Center for many, many years. I think I bought almost everything you guys sell from there when I was single and hoping and praying to be married someday with a bunch of children. Since the children thing did not happen, I try to share my Catholic resources with others. I call myself as a teacher at a daycare/preschool “A Mother’s helper”. I may not be able to be a Mama (silly endometriosis diagnosed at age 41! Oh well! I’m getting healthier now and recently lost twenty two pounds on “Trim Healthy Mama”! Ever hear of that book? It’s written by two Christian homeschooling Mamas of several children and it’s awesome! Really helped me learn how to eat healthy and lose weight!), BUT I CAN help other Mama’s and pray for them too, right?:) Stephanie, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers! May God Bless you all!

    PS. How do you get started in reading the Bible? Do I buy a Catholic Bible? Where do I start in the Bible? I do not know. (Anybody is welcome to email me if they need prayers, ect. I love to hear from people!)

    Maria Therese 🙂

    • Maria, thanks for writing, and God bless you and your efforts to evangelize through your writing projects!
      Yes I’ve read Arms of Love – it’s great!
      Thank you for your kind words and sweet encouragement – I appreciate it so much. Love, Steph

  4. […] never imagined that sharing my story about playing with my toddler would garner such a heartfelt response from so many parents. I’ve received private emails […]

  5. […] favorite post of 2013 has to be Mommy Will You Play with Me. I get choked up re-reading it. Luke really taught me an important lesson that […]

  6. […] Mommy Will You Play with Me?  […]

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