What if time were the missing ingredient? What if it were the thing in parenting that assured healthy, well-adjusted, gainfully employed, happily married, non- criminal, non- drug addicted, adults? I'm not saying it is. I am just saying- what if?
We make sure teeth are brushed, finger and toe nails are trimmed, bodies and faces washed.
We insist vegetables and fruit be consumed. Vitamins taken.
We guide homework, assist in the construction of paper mache islands, quiz them on spelling words.
We sign them up for sports and take them to music lessons, dance lessons, Spanish lessons, pottery lessons... lessons, lessons, lessons.
All of these things take time. All motivated by love. But, I am not talking about that kind of time. What if all of these time-consuming things that we do to preserve health and promote growth in effect wipe out the tiny secret ingredient that makes the largest deposit on their life of all?
Time where you are physically and mentally present and completely focused on just them. Undivided attention. Is it possible? Could that be it? I don't know if there have been any scientific studies on this. But, I wonder. And the more I think about it, the more I think it is something I would bet on.
Today was a day of school, homework, guitar lesson's for Mister Luke, Jackie Boy would be in a play at school and Hottie Husband would be gone all night at class. Again, I doubted my ability to give 15 minutes to each of them.
My first time saving strategy- on a night like this... order pizza.
So while the pizzeria made dinner, I played catch in the rain and mud with Toots. My eye is infected so I am wearing my glasses. There were droplets on the lenses. It was blurry. I played worse than yesterday. But, I played catch in the rain today with my son.
On to Guitar Hero with Jackie Boy. I learned that he could play with me instead of against me. We could compete together against the machine. He said- mom, I'm saving your life.
Yes, I am certain you are!
Rolling around with the floor with Little Bear. Tickling, laughing, smiles. Well worth the 15 minutes.
Dinner. Homework. Guitar. The play.
When would I have time for Mister Luke?
I found it at bedtime. The boys all sleep together in one big room. He likes to talk in bed. He always has. It is where he tell his secret thoughts. Asks his deepest questions. But, lately we haven't had that time because when they are all in one room, it is hard to have a one on one conversation. The others want to chime in.
Once I had everyone tucked in, I whispered to him- Come with me!
All the way down the stairs and into my room he asked- What mom? Oh, the trash, my shoes? My homework? What are we doing mom?
Come sit with me on my bed for a while. I know you like to talk at bedtime,but it is hard with your brothers there.
I was quiet. And he talked. I kissed him good night and walked him back up to bed and tucked him in. He was smiling all the way.
HH came home late. I waited. I sat by his side on the couch while he read through a book of baseball rules for the minors team he is coaching. Normally, I would just watch my show or read my book beside him. But, tonight I reached out. I crossed the distance between us and touched him. Kissed him. He continued to read.
Am I bothering you?
No, you are actually touching me.
How sad that I don't do this more often. It was a good night.