He launched his Country music career a few years ago, even playing Wrigley Field where I heard him from my rooftop. Among his best songs is one about how quickly the stages of childhood change and that the exhaustion, the frustration, the joy doesn’t last long.
I bawl like a baby everytime I hear it.
Yesterday, I thought about this song while I chased Big Red around the park with Little Strawberry in the Bjorn. Sundays are Daddy’s days – football (and for a little bit longer, baseball) games rule the TV at our house all day. Since I work five of seven days, I crave solo time with my girls so I don’t let jealousy bugger up my relationship with my husband. Of course we do “family time” almost every night but I want my own time alone with the girls too.
What made me think of this song, and especially the line, “one day soon that little girl will be all grown up and gone” was the parents sitting on the side of the play yard obsessed with their smartphones.
One dad in particular was 50 if he was a day. His daughter was probably 4. I didn’t notice him glance up once during the 45 minutes we were there.
I don’t want to sound like Judgey McCritical. I honestly believe that most parents do the best they can with their given circumstances and means. I don’t know this guy’s story. But seeing him ignore his little girl chastened me.
I’m not a young mom. The most significant reason for me NOT to have more kids is that I will be in my 60s when they graduate college. If my girls wait as long as I did to have babies, I might not be alive to see them.
Even at 38, there are times I feel like an old, washed-up body. Knees creak, shoulders crack, back aches. Of course I expect I’ll feel heaps better when I drop the extra LBs and start getting longer sleep. I don’t want my daughters to suffer an uninvolved mum because I can’t keep up. THAT is just not acceptable.
But what about when I just don’t show up. Being physically present isn’t enough. I want to honor my daughters by being mentally present when we are together. The 45 minutes we ran around the park were the best part of my weekend (and it had already been a pretty great weekend).
I know Calamity Jayne loved it too because she said so and cuddled me the rest of the night and again this morning.
How much of the time you spend with your kids is wasted on distractions that have nothing to do with how much you enjoy them? And more importantly, how much they enjoy you?