I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about the importance of being present, particularly with respect to one’s children. Kids grow up so fast, everyone says, but you can slow the speeding bullet by putting aside the smart phone, pausing the mental list making and truly engaging with your child for a little bit of time each day. While you engage, notice things. Look at their sweet faces, marvel at the funny things they say, really talk to them. Take some time, take a deep breath and take them in so you don’t find yourself distraught, years from now, wondering where their childhood went.
But this post isn’t about noticing our kids. It’s about a recent dinner I had with my husband out at a restaurant on a random weeknight. It would be cool if I told you that we totally lived it up – went to our favorite restaurant downtown, went clubbing, got wasted. But that didn’t happen. Instead, we went to a decent restaurant a few blocks away, talked about tantrums, budgets and work, got some froyo and were home by 10:00. While I’d like to think a fly on the wall of our dinner would have been enthralled by the analysis of our monthly Amex bills, it probably would have fallen asleep and landed in the salsa.
However, for a fleeting moment in the middle of the very grown-up dinner conversation, I was entirely present. For that short moment, I tuned out whatever we were discussing, really looked at my husband’s face and thought, “He is sweet and good and adorable and I am lucky.” My heart felt full and I was happy and grateful…and then I was zapped back into helping him figure out how much we can afford to spend on an apartment.
I’ve been thinking about that moment a lot over the last few days. It made me realize that the importance of being present doesn’t only apply to time with my kids, it applies to time with my husband too. I make a real effort to spend quality, truly engaged time with Addy and Zack but I don’t do this as much with Max. Sure, we spend tons of time together and have lots of fun, but rarely do I take a minute to sit and stare into his eyes. I am guilty of devoting lots of words to complaining about the unimportant things he does wrong and few to telling him how truly blessed I feel to be his wife and the mother of his children. Most weeknights, instead of lying in bed focusing in on each other and talking about things that go deeper than budgets, we watch Homeland, talk about our plans for the week and then pass out. None of this is to say we don’t love each other, because we truly do. We have just become victims of the parent trap – the trap that distracts us with logistics and worries and to do lists and leaves little room for just being together.
Now that I have had this seemingly simple realization, what do I do? How do I remember each day to look at his sweet face, marvel at the funny things he says, really talk to him? When can I take some time, take a deep breath and take him in so I don’t find myself distraught, years from now, wondering where the magic went? Life is crazy, and it’s batsh-t crazy when you have kids, but it will fly by right over your head if you don’t take time to truly engage with what’s most important to you. So while I’m really liking engaging with you so far, blog, I gotta go do some engaging with my main squeeze.