Lately I have been holding off on writing. It turns out that when I get really into something I unconsciously block out what’s going on around me. In this moment of my life, my newfound love of writing has been put in place of taking full advantage of the time spent with my daughter. She is only a day shy of being sixteen months old. Yes, I’m going by months because I want to account for every day that I have been blessed by her presence. Thinking about how long she has existed in this moment and how much she has already grown in both size and intellect blows my mind, and, while I love writing, I don’t want to miss the little things.
There is so much in today’s culture that distracts us from an unfiltered experience of one another. We get so caught up in technology, in our work, and in the media that we forget to treasure the moments we have with our kids. “Reality” television has babysat young people to the point that today’s teenagers think that they should be acting like the immature, exaggerated characters we see on shows like Big Brother and Keeping Up With The Kardashians instead of kindhearted, mature young adults. Meanwhile, we adults are off in La-La-Land. We spend so much of our time trying to make ends meet that we forget to stop working and worrying and just enjoy the time we get to spend at home with our families. I know I certainly do from time to time.
So for the last couple of weeks I have challenged myself to disconnect, which has been far more difficult than expected. The first few days were easy. Fun even. Then I let myself get distracted (with computer building, no less) and I became obsessed with finding out everything I could on the matter. The next thing I knew I had been staring at my computer screen for four days nearly non-stop and my baby girl seemed to have grown while I wasn’t looking. To top it all off, not only did I miss interacting with my daughter, but I had started eating like a college student again and stopped exercising. However, the moment I realized how asleep I was didn’t happen until last night.
My husband brought home a tablet. You know, one of those data tablets. Nothing fancy, but something new and shiny. He got it for our daughter, which I had said was all right because we wanted to get her something to use as a learning tool down the road. The key words being “down the road.” After watching her play on it for a little while I realized just how much technology is going to grow in her lifetime and how young she will be when she masters the things that we are still learning. She will know so much more than we did at her age, and the only filter is us. Her family. We are the ones who are responsible for helping her find her way. Short of keeping her completely sheltered, which I wouldn’t dream of doing, the only thing I can do is make sure she understands the importance of connecting with the world around her. I want her to be able to disconnect from the mundane and meaningless things we are bombarded with on a daily basis and have a real conversation with someone. I want her to connect with her children one day and not take any moment she has with them for granted. I want her to experience life firsthand, but it has to start now.
Once again I am challenging myself to wake up and be present, if not for me then for her. Our lives on this earth are short and I do not want to become a woman who is too busy wandering around, off in pursuit of some meaningless endeavor while her child is left behind to find her way alone. I want to be here and witness those moments, those jewels that are taken for granted by most. I want to be here when she learns new words and I want to laugh with her when she finds delight in something as sweet and simple as kissing bubbles.