I have told you all before, I am working on some self-improvement right now. One thing I really, really want to get better at is just existing in the ONE moment that I'm in. Like any mom, besides the job of parenting I also have the jobs of making dinner, band-aid-ing owies, packing lunches, changing batteries, signing homework sheets and on and on and on. Because of my own history with chaos, I have my own challenges in sitting still. The lack of order I experienced in my early years has made me sometimes crave order (the kind I can control) above all things. An unswept crumb, a pile of dishes, a buzzing dryer or an unraked pile of leaves can send me careening off away from my children doing some task that is - by far - less important.
My therapist gave me an assignment. Every evening during the week from 5:30 - 7:30, I am WITH my kids. Doing whatever it is that we're doing--reading a book, playing Coen's strange, thrown-together idea of a Pokemon card game, building a puzzle... And any urges I have to clear the table, wash a dish, pick out tomorrow's clothes, suddenly organize the CDs.... must be pushed through and let go. This time, of course, includes dinner and baths and bedtime, but I even have found myself getting up in the middle of dinner to get the mail, leaving Coen to bathe himself and start the dishes... My kids need me to focus on them. It's really hard for me to focus at all. But I've been doing it now for almost three weeks and the payoff is outstanding.
There are two things I receive as payoff--Coen and Lucy.
It is even more of a challenge for me when Tad's not home. Tad keeps me in check--raising an eyebrow when I answer my children's "Mommy can you play with me?" with "In a minute!" which can invariably be anywhere from an actual minute to twenty. But he wasn't home last night and I pitched a perfect game. I was with my kids and I tell you, the amount of refereeing I had to do was minimal. Without my absence, arguments were less likely because we were all together. I didn't need to get annoyed that they were calling me away from something I was trying to get done because I had nothing to be called away from. I was giving them me. And me, them.
When I tucked Coen in--the last parenting move of the night--I gave him a kiss. As I was walking out of his room he said, "Mom? Can you give me another kiss? I don't remember the last one." I kissed him again. "That's better." He said. "If there's a little wet, then I remember it better."
I chuckled all the way down the steps.