Earlier this year when Lafayette experienced three snow days and all of the schools were closed, my daughter H was home with me and ended up teaching me a great lesson. As if those few days weren’t enough to open my eyes, a friend then posted a video on her Facebook page about her experience with “5 more minutes” that affirmed that I should bring more light to this topic. There is no more time to wait. Our children need us to be present now.
Wait, Just a Minute
The days at home during the “snow” when school was canceled revealed something significant in my relationship with my daughter. “Wait, just a minute,” has become a phrase used frequently when she needs me, but I am busy doing something else. At four years old, she is proficient at crying wolf and not really needing me … or does she? My eyes were opened wide when she recently told me, “I do things you don’t want me too when you are not looking.”
As I write this, I am still not sure how I feel about that statement. At first, I felt “well I’m glad she is blunt and truthful.” Then I thought, “is my parenting to blame? Is she doing things behind my back out of frustration because she really does need me?”
I’ve taken on a whole new world launching Savoring Presence. I am learning new things that require a lot of time. Truthfully, I never had intention of learning about social media campaigns and creating a website, but here I am. I didn’t want to stop working and put it all down to be mom for three days but H demanded it, but I am thankful she did.
During those three snow days, I made myself more available to her and learned that in my making her wait, I was missing an opportunity to spend time with her. She didn’t need hours of my time. All she wanted was to touch in, make a connection with me and then go about doing her own thing.
We do not allow my daughter to play on devices or watch endless hours of television at home. Now, don’t get me wrong. I will certainly whip out an iPad for a long drive or even take one along to dinner if necessary. As I see it, it’s either hire a babysitter or bring one in the form of an iPad. What’s the difference? However, at home, no devices and television time is limited.
We were in the house for three days and she needed me to engage. So I engaged. We cooked (no big surprise there) made videos, put puzzles together, learned new games, and fixed each other’s hair. She enjoyed checking the weather outside, and she even learned how to fold towels. She stayed in her pajamas most of the days and rode her scooter around the house. We improvised and didn’t wait, just another minute, for an opportunity to pass us by. These snow days brought us closer and for that, I am thankful.
In actuality, my daughter doesn’t care what she’s doing as long as she’s doing something, and preferably with my husband or myself. She will gladly move laundry from the washer to the dryer, fold towels, feed the dog or whatever little chore she can do to help out. Like her momma, she has things she doesn’t want to do and picking up her toys is on the list. The lesson I learned in all of it is to engage her NOW and stop the waiting.