My daughter came to me a week ago and asked if she gave me money, could I order her notebooks online with my credit card. Every day since she has tracked her package and finally yesterday it came. I was sitting at the kitchen table when she walked into the room holding the package, smiling ear to ear. I vaguely remember her saying, “I love these notebooks, which one should I use first?” I think I responded by saying, “It’s your choice, just pick one”. It dawned on me today that I didn’t even take the time to look at them. I was so wrapped up in what I was doing that I didn’t take a moment to share her excitement. Tonight when she gets home, I will ask her to show them to me. My job is not to rule the world. The most important thing I can ever do is to make the people who I love feel valued and important. It is not how much money that defines you. It is not how many college degrees that hang on a wall. It is simply how well you treat others and how you make them feel that matters. We have got to find a way to give more time and attention to the people and things that do matter rather than the things that never will.
I’m missing it. Life. It’s passing me by.
There are subtle signs gently guiding me along, nudging me to pay attention to whatever I am doing. Today, I felt the nudge and I am grateful I was paying attention.
Attention is so important. I realize that now. Often times I hear my daughter say, “Mom, I told you that yesterday.” Where do I go when she is trying to tell me about her day? Why don’t I seem to hear her the first time?
Just today, I caught myself in the act of speeding through the work zone. Again! This construction has been going on for months now. There are giant orange cones and bulldozers and men working all over the place. Yet every single time I drive that road I forget the speedlimit has changed to 40mph. I am such a creature of habit that I go through the motions not paying attention at all. That’s how my life has felt lately. Dull, monotonous and filled with hours of the same routine. Hours turn to days that turn into months and before I know it I’ve missed a year.
I went to the mall today and I actually looked around. I slowed my pace and actually focused on being present. I was amazed at how many people were drawn to me and found myself having some lengthy conversations with total strangers. I even looked at them with enough focus that I am sure I would recognize them again. I was coming back to life one minute at a time and boy did it feel good. On the way home I grabbed at hamburger and I took my time eating it enjoying every single bite instead of scarfing it down.
Pay attention. Time fades away like the last seconds of light at the end of the day. Work at it. Set an alarm on your phone a few times a day as a reminder to check in until the practice of being present comes naturally. The biggest travesty of all is not realizing you are everywhere except where you really are. Here’s your wake up call. Will you answer the phone?
We are a couple weeks into school now and my old familiar anxiety is starting to creep back in. My son has ADD and his lack of focus and organization has been an on going challenge. We decided to take him off his medication last Christmas and found out with our constant nagging, the teachers staying on top of things and Chases determination to do this on his own, he will get there one day at a time. It’s a big responsibility for me to oversee his work. Trying to maintain the right balance between schools expectations and his struggle to do the work leaves me in a tough place. He is very smart. Everyday, he surprises me more and more. Sometimes though, when I start to relax a little too much, disaster strikes in a moments notice. I checked Parent Portal this weekend to find Chase is missing 4 math assignments. We have a 504 that is similar to an IEP that requires teachers to contact me at the first sign of missing work or when he is falling behind. This is what happens when I don’t check and they don’t let me know. It turns into a massive stress fest at home and my husband and I feel the brunt of it. He spent all weekend trying to re-do the work he seemed to misplace. The fact that his writing wrist is broken does not contribute to the cause in a helpful way. Every year, the transition of getting used to new teachers in addition to the time lapse of them discovering his 504 seems to take longer and longer. On a good note, we try our best to work as partners so Chase can be as successful as possible. High school starts next year so this is a big transitional year. He is in 3 classes now that will give him high school credit and I am confident he can handle them IF he keeps up with the work. There’s always that one class he slacks off to make up for the amount of work in other classes. I hope this will be the year he finds his balance and I lose some of this worry and anxiety. I am looking forward to the day he gets his cast off and can get more of his work done in class. Two more weeks, hold on, almost there.
Yes, you heard my voice but you didn’t hear a single word I said. Am I the only one who feels this way? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation with someone who is not entirely present? You know the person I am talking about, the light is on but nobody’s home. I don’t know if it’s because people jump ahead in their thinking that they lose focus on the actual words or because they are so confident they are hearing something particular that they assume their assumption is the truth. Often times I long for someone to give me the time and attention it takes to really connect and understand me on a deeper level. It’s hard for me to continue to converse with the ones who jump ahead and come to a conclusion that is quite opposite of what I’m trying to convey. So someone please tell me? How do I stop myself from becoming so exasperated while nicely trying to explain myself in a way someone will hear and understand? You can’t only hear what you want to hear. You can’t twist someone’s words into a preconceived notion of what you think they believe. You must find a way to listen through the distractions in your own head and the external ones all around you. Can anybody hear me? Oh never mind.
Getting by in this busy world has always led me to believe making time for the people I love should be at the top of my priority chart. Lately though, I’ve discovered that spending time together does not necessarily mean spending time together. If one of us is watching tv, one is on a computer and one is on the ipad then we really aren’t interacting at all. It’s hard to focus in on people these days. There are so many distractions and so many alarms and notifications that it would be a real challenge to give someone my full attention. I challenge everyone who reads this to look someone straight in the eyes when they talk to you today. Put down your phone or computer, turn off the tv and give them the most precious gift you can….your full attention. See if you can do it and let me know. I’d love to hear about your experience.
It is no wonder so many of us feel so insignificant these days. I have been getting really frustrated lately with the amount of attention or lack there of coming my way. I try and talk to the back of my sons head as he stares mindlessly at the computer playing Mine Craft. Sometimes it drives me absolutely crazy because if I talk directly to him, he doesn’t seem to hear a word. But, say something I don’t want him to hear, he asks a million questions. Then I try and ask my daughter about her day in between the notification beeps coming from her phone and the world record amount of selfies she can take of herself in a minutes time. Then my husband. Augh! I finally think I am going to have a real two way conversation as I notice his attention going between my voice, the glare of the computer sitting on his lap and the Thunder game that’s playing on the tv. I have seriously had it. Even my mom is playing the game. I call her up and hear, “hang on, I have to get your sister off the phone. Bill will you order me some French fries. Hold on, your cousin is beeping in.”
I am hurt and insulted and feel like I have little or no importance in the lives of the people who are supposed to love me the most. No wonder depression is rampant and the line of every other commercial is about feelings of worthlessness. People’s lack of attention is really becoming problematic. I am not even writing this to vent. I am writing this to urge anyone who reads my blog to stop being so inconsiderate to the people that actually care enough to want to have a little one on one face time. Put the computer down and turn the tv off and stop checking your phone every single time it beeps. Give someone your whole attention and see how they respond. It is disheartening to think that someone cannot even give you a few minutes of their time when you so desperately need to talk. So, I hope you listen and give the people who love you more time and attention then you do your cell phone, laptop of squirrel in the distance. Anyone else having the same experience? And remember, they call it call waiting for a reason. It can wait until you finish the phone call you are already on. Now look someone in the eyes and listen to them. If they don’t appreciate it, I sure will!