Parents, can you “waste time” with your children? It is one of the most important things that you can do each day.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) October 27, 2015
I’m good at wasting time. One might call me an expert. Yet, I need to be reminded, by the Pope no less, to do that with my kids.
When I had only one child, I spent loads of “wasted” time with him. Four and a half years. I pushed Thomas trains around the wooden track. I sang and danced to silly songs in the backyard. I lay in the grass and watched the clouds pass.
Then I had another baby. And another. And another. And my time divided amongst the little people in my life.
I so easily forget how much my children need me (and their dad) to just BE with them. Without an agenda. Without a plan. Without a device or a chore or an activity. With me organizing or ordering. And yet when I spend that kinds of undistracted time with them, it never fails to fill my heart with love and my spirit with joy.
My kids need to connect with me in a way that shows them time spent with them is worthwhile and enjoyable.
So many of these little “wasted” connections happen as I’m tucking them into bed, when today’s worries have ebbed and before tomorrow’s have crept in.
The little ones want to be kissed and tickled. The older kids like to hear the little insignificant details of my life from before they were born. Where did I sled ride? What was the worst vacation you and Daddy ever took? They want to chat about dreams and fears and hear their birth stories.
I learn so much about my children in those quiet, tender moments of intimate, if ordinary, conversation. I meet the boy who needs me to draw him out from his worries with tales of what his little siblings got into when he was away. I meet the girl who nearly glows under my praise. I see the widening smile of a chubby-cheeked little girl. I hear the belly laughs of a little boy.
Perhaps more than my kids, I fail to recognize the need to waste time with my husband. Not the lazy kind of time wasted in front of the television when we’re both too tired to go upstairs and shower for bed. The kind that is SO, SO, SO hard to come by when we can talk the way we used to when we could fill the conversation for hours on the telephone talking about everything and nothing. Just experiencing life together.
Our days are numbered. They WILL end. Maybe sooner than we expect. I don’t want to miss another “wasted” moment.
Do you make “wasting” time with you loved ones a habit?
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