I was in the midst of some of my best ignoring work. I wasn’t giving in tonight. No way I’m losing this battle of the wills.
We were in the midst of a story before bed. I had navigated my kids through pajamas, tooth brushing, and goodnights to mom, and so I imagined that I was putting the finishing touches on an efficient process of bedtime preparations. The only thing left was reading a chapter or two of a book while my kids listened from their respective spots in the bunk beds.
I don’t need to tell you about the creative lengths that kids go to in order to extend the moments before lights go out. You know what I’m talking about. Previously latent but presently essential life questions rise to the surface, and a dad must answer whether or not a sloth’s nose runs when it’s hanging upside down, why it is that cars don’t go to the bathroom, and if the inside of our heads are crammed full of hair that’s slowly escaping. I wasn’t going to deal with such questions this night. Not when I was on the cusp of completing my efficient bedtime routine work.
But my defenses are wearing down. My ability to ignore is fading … my annoyance levels are rising … I’m losing reading focus. “What is it?!?!?” I snapp.
Let’s be honest, there clearly was no interest at all in finding out what exactly it was. As long as the interrupting ended, that’s all I cared about.
We’re best friends forever. Right, Dad?
I often have to force myself not to reflect too deeply on priceless moments and interactions with my kids that I’ve missed and squashed because of…me. My schedule. My priorities. My lack of patience. My frustrations. My immaturity. Do I have to keep going? Because I could.
9 times out of 10 (and perhaps that’s too conservative of an estimate) the interrupting question in the middle of reading time before bed will be of the “Why don’t we eat koalas?” variety. But I don’t want to miss, We’re best friends forever. Right, Dad? And so, I’ll do my best to respond to those questions. I’ll seek to set aside my priorities and grow in patience, love, and self-control in order to experience the gift of those moments.
Slow down … so that you’re present. Slow down … so that you don’t have a Veruca Salt Christmas. Slow down … and enjoy relationship-building activities with your kids. Slow down … so that you “find the zone.”