i want to remember it all, i know this time of life with wee young kids who want to be with me all the time goes fast. i have heard friends with older kids say they long to just hold their children in their tiny states one more time. kiss tiny hands and hear tiny footsteps. i absolutely get that. these bite-size persons are incredibly sweet and amazing and will never be as connected to me as they are right now. so i love it, i pay attention. and i write it all down. and i truly am cherishing all the moments of sweet cheeks on mine and all the insanity and mess and loudness.
YOU’RE MISSING IT. (No, I’m not. Go away)
or, i’m trying.
a few months ago i was Christmas shopping with anna in a carrier on my front and i took her over the see a fountain statue thing. she was mesmorized with it, so i answered texts and checked facebook and email and whatever else on my phone for a few minutes. then we were approached by these two women, probably in their 60’s, who exclaimed how beautiful she was and how her little face was just lighting up as she enjoyed the fountain and how she just looked enchanted and enchanting! and…that i was missing it all. and that i really should look. and that i was missing it. and why wasn’t i looking? the subtext was that i was bad and wrong for being on my phone instead of soaking up my daughter’s happy moment. i know they walked away talking about me. and possibly other ‘parents these days.’
i felt badly, as they’d intended. but i also felt a few other things. firstly, anna doesn’t NEED me there to have her happy moment. she can do that all on her own. she can learn, she can grow, she can even fall and figure out how to get back up without my observing or sharing it with her. i am there to celebrate a lot of happy moments with her and to soothe her through a lot of sad or painful ones, but when she finds pleasure in a piece of mall art, she can have that all for herself sometimes.
secondly- if my nose is in my phone instead of taking in all these moments with my kids, will i have regrets later in life? do they feel neglected? will i feel foolish? possibly. but i don’t think so. i make an effort to be present with them and to put the damn phone down. sometimes that is hard, but i do it. but my phone, with its access to social media and opportunities to write, to develop and share my voice as a writer, as a funny person, as a friend to people all over the world- i value that, too. and maybe i haven’t properly been dunked in the guilt bucket or something, but i’m ok with my kids knowing that i have other things going on besides them. they have my love. in a huge way. but i also love on other things, including myself, my time, and my pursuits of other relationships and hobbies and stuff.
so…stranger ladies, after much consideration, i’m glad you got to see my daughter in a very happy moment. she’s fantastic, isn’t she? she’s truly a delightful, lovely, amazing specimen. she probably made your mall experience that much more fun!
but, you know, otherwise bugger off.