What My Children Will Remember

A newborn asleep in my arms. A three-year-old playing at my feet and talking, talking, talking endlessly as he does. I love my children but they aren’t always the best company. I crave conversation and connection—real words with actual grownups.

I feed my daughter with one hand and scroll ad infinitum through my phone with the other. Though I’m endlessly busy at home, I’m bored at the same time. My hands are busy but my heart and mind aren’t engaged in the tasks at hand—changing diapers, cleaning bottles, filling sippy cups, and stacking blocks. My phone becomes an outlet as my heart and mind seek connection with adults and stories beyond the day to day routine of raising a family.IMG_20170822_104305_617But already, little as they are, my children notice my distraction and lack of engagement with their own words and activities. I look away from my phone to find my daughter’s eyes locked on me and I wonder what I’ve missed during this first month of her life while my eyes lingered a little too long and longingly at pretty pictures on Instagram. My son asks a million questions and eventually gets frustrated at my obviously not listening grunts and mmm hmms to his words and stories. He wants me to look up at him. He wants me to get down on the floor and play. He wants me to see him and not just what’s happening on my phone.IMG_20170717_145445_984It’s hard, this busy boredom. This always having more to do and needs to meet than I can possibly manage and yet being lonely and mentally stagnant all the while my hands are full and my feet are moving.

Sometimes I wonder what my children will remember about me when they think back to childhood. What will stand out in their mind from our days together here at home? Will they remember me loving on them and the games we played? Will they hold onto climbing into my lap with a book and reading a story together or the sunny days outside playing in the yard and dirt? Or will they mostly remember me on my phone, looking down and muttering delayed and distracted responses to their words and questions?IMG_20170717_092642_395I think about the things I want my children to love—being outside, reading, exploring, imagining and telling stories. And then I wonder how well they’re learning such things from my living example. How often do I go outside or pick up a book instead of my phone? How often do I explore or tell them a story rather than turning on Netflix for some easy entertainment?

I hate the answer. I’m embarrassed by the truth.

My children are watching, learning, and becoming and there’s no going back on the time already spent. I know I can (and must) do better so I started setting my phone down and picking a book up instead. How I’ve forgotten the pleasure of reading. The words of C.S Lewis pour off the page and I’m mesmerized by his words. My son sees me reading and wants to know what the words say so I read out loud. He brings me story books and we sit and read together.IMG_20170717_145652_951Outside on the porch, I feel the breeze swirling around me, baby snuggled against my chest. My son digs in the dirt, still talking endlessly. I can hear the birds, feel the warmth of sunshine on my skin. Since when was my own backyard so magical, peaceful, and quiet? I’d forgotten how quiet life actually is when you turn off the noise—the phone notifications, the TV, the endless searching for entertainment.

It’s hard sometimes, spending most of my time with little people who can barely communicate when I long for meaningful conversation and connection. But I think I’m starting to realize my children long for those things too—the conversation and connection—and they long for it with me. My son has stories to tell, boy does he. My daughter studies my face, eyes locked on me regardless of whether my gaze is on her or my phone.

These are the days they’ll remember and how they remember them is very much up to me and the example I set.

5 thoughts on “What My Children Will Remember

  1. Trust me every stay at home mom has felt the same things…the boredom even in the midst of busyness, the longing for adult conversation. I’m so very thankful that you’ve been willing to not just see what a distraction a phone can be but that you are willing to make a change. Your children are still small, and yet even being young they are going to NOTICE what you do and I believe will even notice the change that you’ve made in giving them your full attention. Children crave attention, they crave being loved and cared about, they are in many ways simply little adults, wanting the same things that grown ups do. There will be a time for more adult interaction, it will be here before you know it, because if you interact with your children NOW they will become young adults who can and who will desire to have adult conversations with you…not many parents of teens can honestly say that their children WANT to converse with them, trust me it’s worth the investment now.

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    • I know you’re right but it’s hard to remember in the middle of things…i mean, you’ve seen what my conversations with Roman are like right now 😉 God is teaching me every day to appreciate the journey and look forward to the future.

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  2. I have said it before and I say it again, wisdom flows from your words. Your children are blessed being yours. You will be surprised by what they remember, what they love. It is amazing that when we give a little, they remember it all… Electronics are a distraction, which is good and bad, it is all about balance and holding onto those rare, precious moments when there is no beeps/buzzes or chords holding you to an outlet. Thank you for these words of yours, they bless me. Cathi (DAF)

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