Saturday, December 22, 2012

Just Be With Your Kids



Twinkling Christmas Tree Lights - Just Be With Your Kids - Parent Unplugged - Stacy Snyder
No matter how hard we try to slow down during the busy holiday season, sometimes we get caught up in the hustle and bustle.  With gifts to buy, people to visit, services to attend, and cookies to bake, sometimes we forget what's most important is standing right in front of us, our kids.  Our kids need our presence more than the presents need to be wrapped or the tree needs to be trimmed or the walkway needs to be shoveled.

Yesterday morning I woke up early to fit in a workout before the kids rolled out of bed, anxious to start their days.  After the workout, I intended to take a quick shower, do a few minutes of work, then make breakfast for the girls and prepare their lunch so I could be ready for some holiday shopping and baking later in the day.  My plan was shattered when the kids woke up early and wanted to snuggle with Mom in front of the twinkling Christmas tree.  They didn’t care about playing or reading books or watching the boob tube; they wanted to sit with me and just be.  

The tree needed watering and last evening’s dishes needed washing, but when my eldest daughter said, “Mom, can you come sit with us for a few minutes?” I moved on impulse toward my girls.
We sat on the sofa admiring the darkness outside the window, the soft light illuminating from the angel at the top of the tree, and comfortably enjoyed each other’s company without saying a single word.  We held hands, snuggled under the blanket, and just existed in peace.  

It could have been five minutes or an hour, as the clock stood still.  We were afforded a moment in time without technology, task lists, obligations or organized activities.  While none of us consciously acknowledged it, instinctually we knew it was time to cast off the cumbersome pace of our lives and rest not only our bodies and minds, but also our spirits.  I looked at my kids and realized even though they’re growing up so fast, they still need their parents.  They don’t need us to necessarily do anything for them or give anything to them.  They just need us to be with them.

After a bit, we slowly started our day, but a different sort of day than usual, without routines to adhere to.  Beds didn’t get made, but I had the pleasure of watching my kids open their advent calendar and one child treasuring the gift singularly for a minute before sharing it with the other child who didn't get a gift, as they rotate days on the calendar. Their room didn’t get cleaned but the excitement shared from my youngest over an upcoming visitor that afternoon made it worth a week of piled up dirty laundry!  My shower didn't get taken but I had time to make an extra batch of oatmeal with love for my eldest, who wasn't satisfied with just one bowl.  The trash didn't get taken out, but we enjoyed a morning sing-a-long of Deck the Halls and I realized just what an amazing piano player my daughter had become.  

The impromptu family time fed all of our souls and we had a day like no other, where we each appreciated every single moment of the day.  I saw it in my girls’ attitudes, actions, and moods and I felt it in my core.  I hope the lesson of just being with my kids stays with me always, so that when I’m in the kitchen baking later today, I don’t prioritize the consistency of the cookie dough over my daughter’s request to for a hug and some quiet time.  I hope that my plan of painting the girls’ nails like candy canes over the weekend doesn’t trump their need to just relax and listen to holiday music together.  And I hope that a quick run ‘to see a man about a dog’ doesn’t take precedence over an afternoon of unscripted family time.  It’s the holidays and time to what better time to take action to NOT take action. Just be, just exist, just enjoy time with your kids and family.  Scratch off the shoulds and have to’s for today and just be with your kids.