"Watch me!"

“Mom, watch me!”

“Watch me!”

“Mommmmm, watch ME NOW!”

My daughter wants my undivided attention more lately than ever before. Sometimes, I put down what I’m doing, turn to face her, smile and give her my full attention.

Sometimes, I do not.

“Just a minute, sweetie.” And I continue what I’m doing. She knows I’m not going to pay attention in a minute.

She desperately wants to show me her latest cartwheel/splits/somersault invention. Or the 15th picture she drew that day. Or how she can hit her brother with a pool noodle and make him giggle.

She just wants my full attention.

And I’m torn. Because I’m addicted to my phone. My friends are there. They say funny things, they inspire me, they help me…live…in…the…moment. Except, when the scrolling is not actually living in the moment. I continue to struggle with my relationship to my phone. Anyone else with me?

It’s exhausting to be in the moment with little kids. Much of the time. They demand energy I don’t have. They test patience I’m pretty sure I don’t have. Keeping them alive and not whining is an unrelenting and mundane task at times.

And yet…

Sometimes it’s not exhausting.

Sometimes, the clock clows to a crawl and I kneel down with a 1 year old who found a snail. We wonder and marvel and thank God for creation.

The 4 year old asks if it’s time for Sudoku puzzles and apple slices. We snuggle up on the couch and enjoy our afternoon ritual that helps my work brain disengage.

They give me that sweet, giddy grin and wrap their grimy hands tightly around my neck. They stay there an extra second or two, safe and loved in mama’s arms. Then they’re gone in a flash.

Sometimes it’s exhausting and not exhausting at the same time.

What are we to do in an overconnected, digitally saturated, overwhelming world? Our brains dart all over the place. Something is always asking for our attention. Always.

This is all I know how to do. We keep showing up and paying attention to the person in front of us. Sometimes it’s my friend in Alaska who just had a baby. I listen and love her. Or it’s my brother texting an update on his weekend. Or it’s my daughter’s 67th cartwheel. Or my son shouting, “ball, mama, ball, mama, ball, mama!” Or it’s my husband asking a question about our schedule for tomorrow.

The person in front of me gets my full attention. And I’ve noticed in our busy world, people notice this. We can sense when we have someone’s undivided attention. It’s a wonderful feeling. Because it’s so rare. 

My kids won’t always get my full attention. I’m not sure that they should. But they’ll learn their parents care and love for others too. And for ourselves. And then when we’re present to them…wow, are we fully present. They get all our laughs, hugs, kisses and smiles. We remind them how deeply God loves them, how much joy they bring to us and challenge them to try things on their own.

So there you go, friends. Excuse me while I click Publish, close my laptop and turn to listen to my daughter share her observations for the 5th time in the last hour on how the cut on her hand is healing.


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