Titus, my third son, was sick for a day and a half with a bizarre and quick fever. He must have slept 24 hours to recover and when he was ready to move about, he kept talking and talking. I was in the middle of preparing for a seminar that I was going to give the next day and he just sat in front of me, eating pizza and commenting about the Ipad, telling stories about his Reading Eggs game, asking me questions about the asteroid that hit Russia.
“How did it fall through the sky, mom?”
“Where did it fall?”
“Did people die?”
“Where did it come from?”
He went on and on, and I was half tuned in and half absent because I had to finish what I was doing. At one point, I just laughed out loud because he was saying 10 million things and I said, “I have to prepare my talk first, okay, Titus?” He was quiet for a bit and about five minutes later, he said, “Mom, when you are done and I’m done eating pizza, can I talk to you again?” My heart melted. “Oh babe, you can talk to mommy anytime. What do you want to talk about?”
He became self-conscious as I waited on him to resume his endless trail of random conversations and he said, “um…nothing.” Boy, I think I missed the moment. He didn’t feel like talking after that. He asked a few questions here and there but he wasn’t as eager as he was at first.
My parents have shared about the principle of Magic Moments during parenting conferences — how each child has a particular time of the day or an activity they enjoy doing which a parent can capitalize on to get to know them and draw them out.
For example, when I was living at home, my magic moment was breakfast. Mornings were the best time of the day to talk to me. So my parents would linger with me at the table to listen to me share my stories. It meant a lot. I would open up to them about personal struggles or recall highlights of the previous day. They never made me feel like I was holding them back from a more important engagement.
I need to improve on this as a mom. When I’m zoned in to what I’m doing, it’s a challenge for me to hit the indefinite pause button to give my kids undivided attention.
Edan told me yesterday, “Mom, you are on your Ipad a lot. You shouldn’t be on it too often, especially when we are together as a family.” As a writer, that’s hard for me to do. I’ve got ideas buzzing in and out of my head constantly. My Ipad is like paper and pen to me. If I don’t write a thought or inspiration down immediately, I forget it. But after the incident with Titus today, I was convicted to be more engaged when my kids want my attention.
I can’t believe I traded that magic moment with Titus for the tyranny of the urgent. I could’ve postponed what I was doing for fifteen minutes or so and really listened to him. He would have liked that. It would have sent a big message that I like to spend time with him.
Well, I’m looking forward to being with all my kids in Cebu with Edric this weekend. Since we are not bringing any help, I imagine that the kids are going to have a lot of my attention. There will definitely be some magic moments tucked into the three days we will have with them. I hope Titus and I can resume the conversation about the asteroid falling through the sky and about Russia and the sonic boom that he was curious about…