Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Up For Lost Time

“The best inheritance a parent can give his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” - O. A. Battista

Sometimes the smallest thing will stop you in your tracks. And break your heart.

Another day started way too early as my alarm sounded at 4:24 in the morning. I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled downstairs, towel and razor in hand. I shower downstairs to ensure I don't wake everyone up.

There it was: frozen in time
Then, I saw it. Sitting there on one of the stools under the counter. One of the Peanut's books.

And that's when it hit me. Smacked me in the face, in fact.

Yesterday evening the Peanut ran into the kitchen holding that book. Did she want me to read it? No. She wanted to show me something in it. It's a book with a different dog on each page, and when you turn the pages each different dog takes on the same big googily eyes. She wanted to show me which one looks like Luna.

But I was too busy. To my defense, I really was very busy. I had to delay getting dinner started because Luna once again crapped in the living room. So I was annoyed and busy. 

And it grosses me out to have to clean up dog poop and cook a meal. The hand washing knows no end.

Standing there in the kitchen ten hours later, guilt consumed me. I remembered telling the Peanut to please wait. I wasn't nasty. I nicely explained to her that because Luna had an accident, I couldn't look right now. But I will in a minute.

This is the daily struggle we as working parents endure. Sometimes I stop doing what I'm doing and pay attention to her. If not, I will follow up in a minute, when I have a minute. (But who ever has a minute?)

That minute never came. I felt devastated. I felt I had disappointed her. I showered, soaked in sorrow. 

When I came home tonight to start dinner, I saw that book again. Forgotten again. By me. By the Peanut. Now 24 hours later, it still sat on that same stool.

I hadn't even taken my bag off my shoulder when I announced to her, "You know what I'd like you to do right now? May you show me what you wanted to show me in this puppy book?"

She immediately ran in from the playroom, as if no time had passed. She grabbed the book, turned the pages, and showed me. 

"This one is Luna:"
This is what she wanted to show me


Then she turned a few pages and said, "And this one is me:"
Peanut's the one with the pink bow


Maybe she didn't think anything of it. Maybe she did. Either way, I felt like in that one little moment, I saved her a trip to the therapist. I righted a wrong. 

And in that moment, we both felt better. All it took was a little time.

14 comments:

  1. This is a tough one for me. Even though I'm home, I'm constantly cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, nursing, etc... yeah, there's some tweeting and blogging in there too -- and a lot of times the babies' needs HAVE to come first - poopy diaper, screaming for boob, etc..and I forget stuff like this with my boy.

    I've designated bedtime as NO GIRLS ALLOWED whenever possible. I leave the babies with whatever adult is home and the boy and I go to his room and shut the door tight and read stories, or make up a story, or draw - one night we even watched YouTube videos on my laptop - but I love it. Just me and my boy <3

    Of course, some nights it's just me and the kids.. and that's rough because EVERYBODY is involved in bedtime, which is a nightmare, or I'm rushed, because SOMEBODY is crying. He's a good boy and very understanding. I hope he gets it.

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  2. Awesome, Justin! Way to make it right. :)

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  3. You're right Evin. I didn't mean to omit stay at home parents or parents of multiple kids. We ALL have a shortage of time. But it's amazing how a little bit of it makes it better.

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  4. And thanks, Kell! So simple, yet sometimes so difficult.

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  5. We NEVER have enough time. Just wait Justin until you throw a second child in the mix. I feel bad for my oldest sometimes because his brother takes so much attention away from him.

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  6. I thought of that as I was writing this, John.

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  7. I totally can see where you are coming from i have done this multiple times when doing something else and the boys have come to show me something, or ask me to help with something and your quick response is yea in a sec ok, and then that second never comes or the minute in your case.
    Don't feel bad about it, as it happens to everyone i guess, but you made up for it and at the end of the day that is what counts.

    Way to go!

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  8. Just wait until you have FOUR kids like me....lol. It's crazy around here... and there are never enough minutes. Especially when two of the kids are so young. But no matter how many minutes there aren't, there is always enough love. (Awww.... how cheesy...lol. But it's true!)

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  9. Thanks Ben... sometimes little stuff like this just gets to me, ya know?

    And Heather, as cheesy as it sounds... it's true. Awwww.

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  10. You recognized the moment and seized the opportunity to make it right. Interesting, though, that you're the ice cave dog. That's cold. ;)

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  11. LOL, Chris. No... LUNA is the ice dog. She IS cold at times. Very observant on the Peanut's part. Peanut is the one with the pink bow. She didn't assign me one.

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  12. Great post! Hits home for me in a big way, having recently made a big sacrifice in pay in order to be able to be more " present" for my son.

    Thanks for that!

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  13. That's a tough call, IBMP... Not sure what we would do in that situation. Glad I made a mark for you with this one.

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  14. This is the exact reason I bought myself a laptop so that I can complete every task that doesn't require my total concentration and complete silence in the same room as my boys. It may kill some of my productivity, but I feel more than compensated by being available to my kids.

    Now if I could just find a way to not have so many tasks and spend more time wrestling.

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