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Posted April 30, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Put down the laundry! Make time for memories

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Donna Dunn -- Daily Correspondent

Today was one of those golden, sunlit days that you daydream about when you think of having children.

But as soon as I took my children out to play, I began to run down the literal laundry list of things I really needed to do in the house. Laundry, ironing, cleaning toilets, unloading the dishwasher. I could not turn off the switch in my head that is in perpetual multitasking mode.

Then, I heard my 2-year-old, Bella, and 4-year-old, Graham, laughing. The dog was chasing them and the children's belly laughs were the kind that only uninhibited preschoolers dare to let loose. The ever-running list in my head stopped, and I began to watch them.

The breeze made the fall day feel crisp and clean. Maddie, the golden retriever, romped after the children as they kicked around a soccer ball. Graham declared, "Bella is a superhero" as she scrambled after his renegade ball, squealing "zoooommmmm" as she went. He deemed himself to be "Speed" - as in Lightning McQueen fame.

Our little backyard unfolded in endless exploration. Two-year-old Bella made new sentences like, "Push, Mommy. Swing. Push, Mommy!" I propelled them higher and higher on their green belt swings. To stop was to commit high treason.

Eventually, they moved on to their slide. Feet first, then head first. Climbing up the ladder sometimes, clambering up the slide other times.

They took off their shoes and dug around in the sandbox. Graham created some sort of elaborate story that I could not follow, but I think the pail and the shovel were plotting.

Bella found three acorns. She called them "conkers," the British word for horse chestnuts that she had learned from her beloved "Kipper" videos. Bella was so excited about her little treasures, she would not put them down.

We finally came inside after a couple of hours so they could eat lunch.

Yes, I still had my laundry list of things to do -- and my laundry. But there will always be laundry. I will not always have little ones who want to swing and slide.

It's a reminder to me -- hopefully to you, too -- that no matter what stage in life you are in, take time to enjoy the children in your life.

Stop and listen to them laugh. Give them a chance to tell you about their day. Take time to play a game -- whether it's Candyland or the latest wii invention.

Don't miss a single sunlit day of motherhood. You'll remember those moments far more than the laundry you got done.

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