Saturday, March 1, 2014

Don't Forget to "Date" Your Kids

As a child, I recall having a metaphysical moment while sitting at the kitchen table and looking at a yellow plastic pitcher that my family had owned for years.  I had stirred innumerable Kool-Aid packets and cups of sugar in that pitcher.  I had poured myself a drink from it countless times.  Its presence in our refrigerator was a given.

But it wasn't until that particular day that I actually saw that pitcher.

That day, I noticed its dented white lid with two spouts: one spout opened wide, the other for straining liquids for a slower flow.  I noticed the Berry Blast and Wild Cherry red stains ringing the inside.  Even though that pitcher had been in plain sight every day of my childhood, that day I viewed it as if I had never seen it before.

Odd as it might sound, I sometimes have this same epiphany with my kids.  I'm surrounded by these kids.  I'm feeding them, cleaning up after them, breaking up their arguments, answering their questions, and engaging with them ALL. THE. TIME.  Ironically, I'm still able to push past an entire day (or more) without really seeing them.

Oh, I'll talk with them and exchange information about homework, manners, chores, or bedtime -- a continue stream of chatter.  I'll drive the oldest to dance practice and help the middle child find her misplaced library books and pitch in while the youngest puts away her blocks.  These conversations and actions and continue movement can fill up a day.

But some days, I need to step back and really see them.  In the past few weeks, I've taken each daughter out on an individual date without siblings, agenda, and distractions.  My oldest and I watched a musical at our community theatre, my middle and I stopped at a cafĂ© to drink hot chocolate from real mugs, and my youngest and I sat side by side at the local library doing puzzles.

I need to date my kids more often.  It reminds me to slow down and see them in detail, not just view them in peripheral vision as they orbit around me and become living additions to my seemingly never-ending list of things to do.

Too often, I miss things that are directly in front of me.  I don't want to make that mistake with my children.

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3 comments:

  1. Great share, I've been doing that with my daughter and nieces and nephews for the past 19 years :) lots of memories great fun.

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  2. You've got an abundance of great experience, then! Awesome!

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  3. This is such a lovely practice Robin. You're right, we sometimes get so caught up in the day-to-day, we forget to truly "see" our children. Pinning this on my parenting board!
    xoxo

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