Yesterday I spent the day with my 7 year old son. Daddy was at work and sister was away at camp, so it was a special day just for us to spend however he chose. We played his favorite game of indoor baseball, went to the movies, ran a couple quick errands and then spent some quality time in the pool. Most of the day I did a pretty good job at staying in the moment, playing and having fun. In the afternoon as I was sitting by the pool watching him dive for treasures, my mind started to drift. I found myself thinking about all the other things that needed to be done. Those thoughts led to thoughts about what I would have chosen to do on my day off. Daydreaming about writing, painting and other creative projects as I watched my son play in the pool, I started wishing I was doing one of those things instead of baking in the hot sun. Frustration started to creep in. The sun felt hotter. The game my son was playing seemed to be taking forever. How much longer until we could go inside? My attitude was shifting, my thoughts of frustration and annoyance were gaining momentum, but was I paying attention? I started the countdown of when we would go inside, which of course was met with “just one more….”. I was ready for the resistance, but I was also more than ready to go inside. Suddenly I realized what was happening. I had taken the day off with one sole purpose in mind - to spend the day with my son. My thoughts of coulda, shoulda, woulda, were causing me to lose focus of my original intent. It would have been really easy to let them take over and change the entire dynamic of the day but I realized, like so many times before, that I was responsible for my attitude. My recent thoughts were making me impatient with a situation that I had been fine with just moments earlier. I took a deep breath. He still got out of the pool, but I promised that we would go in a little later, when the sun was not quite as strong. After we got inside and dried him off, I told him that we were going to have some alone time. He could play on the iPad or watch TV and I would go in the other room to watch what I wanted. He agreed and after about forty minutes he came into the room and crawled up next to me. It was just the break that I needed. I was refreshed, my attitude was reset and I was ready to play for the rest of the day. Later that night, when we were both in the pool, reality hit me. These days will be over before I know it. These days where he thinks it’s fun to spend the day with me, where he wants me to play in the pool with him, or play Wii, or go to the movies or show me something that is so awesome. All too soon he’ll want to spend this time with friends or will be at practice or will just be way too cool to spend time playing cards with mom. It would have been easy to let my thoughts and attitude change the course of the entire day, but thankfully this time I recognized it in time to save it.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.