I watched Adela pat in that last piece and give me a sweet grin. The clock showed we had spent half an hour putting together various puzzles while Micaela slept upstairs. I tried not to think about how many other things loomed on my list or how difficult it would be to finish everything later. Instead I smiled back at my four year-old as we started puzzle number seven.
This is what I like to call "Real Time".
We do things for our kids all day long. Even if we are at another job we are working to provide for them. At home we clean their rooms, cook their food, make doctor appointments, settle arguments, kiss bruises, and de-clutter work spaces for coloring and playdough. We are busy constantly doing things for our children.
Real Time is different.
Real Time is when you sit down and play with them. You leave your own agenda behind and engage in their world. You listen to their likes, dislikes, questions, and stories. You make sure your body, mind, and heart are all theirs.
Real Time is powerful. Real Time lets our children of all ages know that we don't just love them, we like them and value them and want to be part of their lives.
Real Time teaches our children how to be good listeners as they observe someone putting down their phone, walking away from the computer, and turning off the TV so they can be completely invested in the time they spend with another person. Even if it is just for five minutes it still holds the beauty of a dedicated parent.
Adela needs this so bad. Micaela gets plenty of Real Time from doctors, therapists, and myself, but Adela often cruises through a day without calling much of anyone's time completely her own. It is one of the reasons she is always so eager to jump in the truck with her Papa and get away with him to cows and sheep and be someone's partner for the day. With Jovani's new job she has less of this special time with her father. The rough spots in her recent behavior is showing me that she misses it.
Real Time: another piece in the puzzle of parenting. My best days, the ones I end with a smile on my face and letting our bedtime routine stretch a bit because I enjoying parenting, those are the days with plenty of Real Time.
Huh. Guess what? We all need Real Time. We need Real Time with our spouse, friends, brothers, sisters, parents, and mentors. It is worth taking off that multitasking hat and setting aside our to-do lists.
When was the last time you enjoyed Real Time with someone special?
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"...and God was already there with me."