Over the course of my years as a parent (which are only 11 in number), I've noticed how easy it to make young kids happy: just be there.
Last night I wanted to spend some one on one time with my youngest daughter, so I took her to my bedroom to read stories.
After I read one, I closed the book and lay there quietly.
She decided it would be fun to play mommy and baby.
I was the baby.
In her cute and squeaky, three year old voice, she demanded the baby to go to sleep.
I obliged by closing my eyes (tough work, I know!)
She sang to me, read me a story and stroked my hair.
She was happy.
I was happy.
It got very quiet and I opened my eyes to see her big eye right in front of me.
We had a grand time. It didn't cost any money and required very little effort on my part except to make myself available. Which, as you know, can be the most difficult thing of all for a busy mom.
While I pretended to be a sleeping baby, I remembered how this scenario has played out similarly with all of my children.
I go to hang out with my oldest child and most of what I do is sit and listen.
I tell my son he has 15 minutes with his name on it and all he wants to throw the ball and chat.
We all know that parenting gets more complicated than this, but here is the foundation of love and trust. Just being there, without distraction, is where they learn that you care about them. That they are more important that your long to do list.
This is what I'm trying to remember.
It's not the same if we sit beside them with phone in hand, scrolling through Facebook. They know when they have our attention.
Will you join me in being intentional about giving some undivided attention to our kids every day? Just a few minutes of “nothing but being there.”
Have you found this to be true with your kids?