So today I was sitting on a city bus kind of staring out the window, lost in my own little world. And the thought occurred to me, “Am I paying enough attention to life?” I am a day dreamer and I live a very full and lovely life… inside my head. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept interruptions and to focus on what is right in front of me.
So I wonder, am I paying enough attention to life or is it passing me by? For example, my daughter Lucy is very easy to read. I know for certain when she feels like she needs more attention because she gets right in my face. If I keep busying myself with whatever I was doing and dodge her attempts to snag my gaze, she gets naughty. So she’s easy to read. But what about the other two? I wonder if I’m giving them what they need.
But then I think about my childhood in comparison with theirs. I grew up right on the edge of the time when kids could still go outside to play unsupervised. I remember playing with my sister for hours and hours without my parents hovering over us. When we complained that we were bored, never once did my parents stop what they were doing and play a game with us. They told us to play together… or they assigned us chores to keep us out of their hair. And guess what, we survived… and thrived. I have a wonderful imagination even as an adult. But I didn’t get that from having my parents entertain me as a child.
So as a parent I straddle this odd line between giving my kids attention when they want it and pushing them off me. I’m not a kid, I don’t want to play board games or watch another episode of Dora the Explorer. Does that make me a lousy parent? No, but it does make me wonder if someday I’ll wake up and think “Man, I could really go for a rousing game of Candy Land.”