One day this past winter, Riley and I sat at the table eating lunch. It was very quiet.
My mind was occupied with plans for something-er-other… Actually I think I was planning this blog, since I remember having the original notebook out on the table.
Finally! The boy is strapped down. Heh heh.
Time to apply my mind to grown-up endeavors.
What should I write? Which day of the week could I use for discussing things like upcycling and diapering and should there be a separate day for cooking or spiritual thoughts? But isn’t all of life God’s and why am I still separating things?
Suddenly I noticed Riley in his highchair, whining and generally acting like a pain-in-the-batooka.
Stop it, Riley! Eat your lunch.
Something to the effect of smooshing food around and tossing it on the floor followed.
You know, I said (and I can’t believe I did), There really ARE children in other countries who would be grateful to eat what you’re horsing around with. I’ve SEEN them.
Do I get points for being a pompous know-it-all? I’m winning, then.
Suddenly I realized he’d stopped. His whole mood had changed. He came alive again and was happy.
What made the difference?
(Musta been my lofty speech. He’ll be repenting in tears and ashes any moment – I can FEEL it.)
It dawned on me suddenly: I spoke to him.
All the poor kid wanted was some conversation! I believe at that point, I closed the notebook, turned to him, and began to include him in my thoughts.
I have no idea what we discussed.
But I won’t soon forget: My son needs me to care about him in a face-to-face, eye-to-eye, out-loud sort of way, whether I’ve been talking in Elmo voice all morning or not.
And he’s worth it.
(La la la la! La la la la! Riley’s world… Iiiiiit’s Riiiiiiley’s world!)
(If you actually sang that to the Elmo theme song, I feel your pain. God bless you.)