A Story of One Bird and Two Mice

Liz is a dear friend and a kindred spirit in my life. We met through work but instantly found common ground in being mothers of multiples, books, food and any fun we could find. She’s the kind of woman who invites the entire neighborhood over several times a year for the block party, shows up when you need her, sees the best in all women, and is willing to work two jobs and go to school full time in order to make her families future bright. Did I mention she is brilliant? Having four boys all within 3 years this woman deserves a Mother’s Day made for a Queen.


I was hurrying my kids out the door the other day. Was it church or baseball practice or math tutoring? I can’t remember. One of my sons asked me “Mom, why are you always in such a hurry?” My reply, “Because I don’t like to be late.” He looked at me, but with an unasked question in his eyes, he nodded and ran to the car.

With a ten year old and identical triplet 9 year olds, my life is a study in perpetual motion. I also am in school and working part time so much of my hurry is self-inflicted. Go, go, hurry, hurry, get it all done and do it again. No wonder I am always running. I am afraid if I sit down nothing will get done: the house will be dirty, the kids homework won’t be finished, the baseball uniform will be dirty, dinner won’t be cooked, my son will be late for practice, I won’t be able to study, I won’t have enough money, bills won’t be paid, laundry won’t be folded, grass won’t be watered, food won’t be bought, THINGS won’t get done. It wasn’t until a few days later when I was forced to sit down and STOP that I actually thought and processed by son’s question.

Last Saturday evening, while reclining in the Phoenix Children’s hospital emergency room with my oldest son, hour 3 into a 5 hour stay, my sleepy son asked me to get into the bed with him for a snuggle. My son is 10 and on the verge of teenage-dom. Its not “cool” to snuggle with mom and for goodness sakes don’t hug or kiss me in public or hold my hand but in the wee hours of the morning in the ER my little boy/man quietly asked me for a snuggle. I was trying to study for my exam next day and felt a bit put out but then I stopped. I thought. I remembered by son’s question and could hear his voice in my head. “Mom, why are you always in a hurry?”

I climbed into the bed a wrapped my jacket around the both of us. As he snuggled up to me he said “this is nice mommy, you never have time for snuggles anymore.” I felt a tear roll down my cheek. It’s true. I don’t. I am too busy with everything else, running around making sure things get done but forgetting the most important thing: who I am doing everything for. I forgot about the little people and the big person my husband. In running around doing THINGS I forgot PEOPLE. I forgot them. I forgot them.

I then remembered a great quote my dad says:


“The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

I was so busy trying to get everything done, being first, being perfect, I got my head stuck in the trap. I have to remind myself it’s okay to be second. In that I mean, it’s okay to have dirty laundry, eat take out, to be late for practice, study when the kids sleep and the bills can wait. I have to remember that the little people don’t care about those things. They just want to have time with mom to cuddle, or talk, or play or be silly.

It’s okay to be the second mouse. I get the cheese!

– Liz

About the Author | Liz Larger

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