Last week I tried to sneak in a workout before Husband left for work in the morning. I made it through thirty minutes on the treadmill but by the time I hit the weights, my bicep curls were thwarted by an impromptu army battle with Son. What can I say? He pleaded for me to play with him and I opted to sacrifice leg lifts for squatting to peak around corners and race in to save our battalion. I figured these maneuvers counted for something with my thighs. And my son.
The truth is, I feel so good when I give my kids undivided attention and engage with them on their terms. But it’s happening less and less frequently. Our days seem to be a constant stream of “Mommy, will you draw with me?” “Mommy, come watch with me.” “Mommy, okay, you’re moving and I’m the moving guy and you call me up and I bring all your furniture over. Okay? Stay there!”
And me constantly replying, “In a minute, I’m making lunch/folding clothes/finishing an email/putting groceries away/talking to Uncle Adam/name any activity I’m dying to accomplish before playing with Son or Daughter.”
And the sadder truth is that when I do sit down to watch television with them, I open my laptop. Or check my Blackberry during karate practice, or peak at email while waiting in line. How precious has my undivided attention become?
Just about as precious as their attention will be when in a few short years I’m pulling out the earbuds to ask how his day was or watching fingers fly across the latest device in the backseat. Soon, I’ll be begging for their undivided attention and resenting the excuses I get in return.
So my mission this week is to offer my presence. Of mind and of time. I may only have a year or two left when I can meet my children in that sweet place fully engaged in the presence of each other. Smearing paint, hurling smoke bombs at enemy camps…whatever. I’ll miss it when one day they tune me out for their most pressing preoccupation. Something other than me.
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