It was late Thursday afternoon. It had been a long day and I was very ready for my husband to walk in the door so I could have some back-up help with our three busy children.

Silas, my 3-year-old son, walked up to me with a bottle of nail polish and excitedly asked if he could paint my nails. He’s seen his girly-girl sister paint my nails before and I guess he thought it looked like something he would enjoy doing for me as well.

I appreciated his sweet sentiment, but I could only picture nail polish splattered all over the floor, all over his clothes, and all over me. After a long day, the thought of scrubbing all that mess up was very unappealing.

But I couldn’t resist his blue eyes looking up and pleading at me. So I told him to go get an old towel. We laid it out underneath us, and he carefully started painting my nails.

Of course, his definition of “careful” included getting lots of fingernail polish in lots of places other than my fingernails, but watching him bent over and putting forth so much effort to serve me touched me deeply. All of a sudden, I didn’t care about the fingernail polish splatters or the fact that I was going to have to do a lot of scrubbing with polish remover to get all of the nail polish off my hands.

None of that mattered as I sat there soaking up my precious little boy. A boy who loves his mama dearly. A boy who delights in serving me. A boy who won’t be little for long. A boy who someday soon will have much more important things to do than spend a long time trying to get his mama’s nails painted just right.

It was a very special memory—one that I will treasure for years to come. And I’m so glad I said yes to what seemed like it would be a big mess. It made me wonder how many times I’ve missed out on beautiful memory-making because I was too concerned about the mess it would make. How many times have I stifled my children’s creativity or spoiled a perfect opportunity for fun because I was more concerned about my house staying clean or keeping our clothes stain-free?

Sure, there was some clean-up required after the nail-painting incident, but it didn’t take anywhere near as long as I thought it would. And there weren’t any permanent stains left behind, only a trail of precious memories.

I’m so grateful that I said yes to what I thought was going to be a mess. It was worth every bit of it!

Copyright ©2013 by Crystal Paine. Used with permission.