I love these faces. These are the faces of my favorite people and they are all conveying the same message:
Turn that thing off and pay attention to me!
We all do it. We get so focused on something that the world falls away. Then you look up to see pleading eyes punctuated with a question, "Did you hear me?" Odds are, no, I didn't hear you. I didn't even realize you were in the room.
Grey kills me. Since he was four, he has said, "Mom, look me in the eyes." when I'm not paying attention. He hasn't bought the "Give me one more minute…" line for quite a while. Iris grabs my face and pulls me to her eyes. Soft but firm little touch. Tiny little hands that won't be tiny for long. Quinn is already seven. I have no idea how that happened. Sometimes the look in his eyes suggests he's already given up on my paying attention on-cue.
I wake up at night and worry that I haven't looked them in the eyes enough.
I wake up at night full of guilt, crawl into bed with them and plead silent promises to their sleeping selves that I'll do better.
I wake up in the morning and nothing changes. My inbox still has over 9,000 unread messages. My to-do list has not done itself. Deadlines still claw and kick or shrivel up and shoot me dirty looks.
Before I left for BlogHer last month, I read this line in Parents Magazine:
Do what you're doing
while you're doing it.
That single line brought me immeasurable peace. I was stressed out heading into the conference because I was trying to do too many things at once. So much was waking me up at night, none of which I would be able to address while at the conference and all of which I would continue to allow to distract me. No amount of beautiful scenery would keep me from fretting about what I needed to do, what I was not doing, and who I was disappointing.
That line allowed me to be in the moment. Do only what I was doing, while I was doing it. It was gorgeous.
Since returning home, I've struggled to remember that line.
Hallmark is a sponsor of VelveteenMind.com through the end of the year and offered my fellow campaign writers and me a challenge: Commit to taking one day off.
They called it a "Blog Out," during which we would identify one thing that tends to be a time-suck or distraction, something that keeps us from giving our family or friends our full attention. After the day off, we would consider how that undivided commitment to attention could go on to inspire us to "pause more often and enjoy the any day moments." Very much in keeping with our campaign's underlying theme: Life Is A Special Occasion.
Ah. Aaaahhh. Yes. For me, the most powerful distraction is the computer or anything connected to email or social media. Walking away from it is typically not an act I struggle with, but I have most definitely been struggling lately.
So I turned off the computers. Disabled the Internet on the iPad and iPod Touch. Disconnected the 3G signal on my phone.
Let the world fall away. I have faces to touch and eyes to hold steady.
We watched movies. We played games. We curled up in bed. We held hands and hugged and good-grief-Mom-enough-already snuggled. My goal was to oversaturate my three children with love. My mind was in the moment, focused on them, relaxed and free.
They are my world. When everything else is over, done, disconnected, deleted… they are my world.
Heading back from a dinner out, Grey started talking from the backseat, seemingly mid-conversation. "Mom, before I was born, when I was in Heaven, I could see you walking around all by yourself. Without me and before you had Quinn or even Dad. I decided you needed me to be your kid so I picked you."
I choke up just remembering that. I believe him.
Particularly because he followed it with, "And so I came down and you pooped me out and I was your baby."
Yep. Pretty much just like that.
These children? They are what I'm doing right now. They are what I've always been doing, even before I knew it.
They have always known. Let them always know.
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Hallmark is a sponsor of VelveteenMind.com through the end of 2011.
Sign up for their newsletter for discounts and tips on how you can celebrate everyday moments as a special occasion. Did I mention discounts?
Opinions are always my own, usually long-founded and stubborn. ;)
Do visit Life Is A Special Occasion and scroll down to the bottom of the page to "Featured Bloggers" to read more stories from the campaign's writers.
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