I've been doing this thing lately where I close my eyes and try to visualize every detail of my childs face. Do I know every freckle? Can I see the exact colour of their eyes? When was the last time I looked at them deeply and truly took them in? Sometimes I feel so preoccupied and distracted by the demands of each day, that I forget to stop and look. I miss all the details.
I've been trying to be more present when I'm with my children. Trying to put away my phone and my 'to-do' lists and just be with them. I don't always have the energy to engage, so sometimes I just sit on the couch and read a book while they play. I think it's important for them to see this image, even in passing, of a person reading an actual book and not surfing a phone.
The other day I spent the morning with my 3yr old at the park. We got there early and had the whole playground to ourselves. As the park began to fill up I was suddenly struck by how many parents and nannys were on their phones, completely disengaged from their children. The most haunting image for me was of a father pushing his baby in a swing with his face turned away, buried in his phone. "YOU'RE MISSING THIS!" is what I wanted to scream at him. But I kept it to myself, and took it as another reminder of how much I want to stay present when I'm with my children.
It sounds so simple, but it's often a challenge. When I am present and focused on my children, I feel the difference in them. I am reminded of how much they need us to be the witness for all they are doing. They need us to have patience while they jump the cracks in the sidewalk, instead of tugging them along. They need us to sit and colour with them, to eat with them, to just be with them. This is what I strive to do, this is what I think of as one of my most important tasks as a Mom.