For Mother's Day, the kids gave me what I love.
It's an interesting funhouse mirror experience, having the children detail out my passions and amusements. As much as I struggle to remain aware and present when I am with my children, they are always, effortlessly, paying attention to me.
While my children are just at the start of their lives, living in sticky, slow treacle time, this stage of my life is all about fitting two days worth of living into every one. I have lists, priorities, jobs, errands, responsibilities, aspirations. My speed is hyper. Frequently I forget small things and occasionally something big. My vision often seems tunneled, where I can only see a tiny fraction of the view. You see, if I am not looking directly at the stack of dirty dishes, the laundry pile, the to-do list, it doesn't exist. I can deal with it later. It's part survival technique, part defiance.
Sometimes I don't look directly at my children. My mind is on auto-pilot and I coast through reading the book or chatting about killer whales. Um-hm. Um-hm. Um-hm. Yes, sweetie.
But, they are not distracted. They are always watching me.
I've got one kid who has always been fairly observant, but is now of an age to notice that my way is not the only way. There is a whole wide world out there, good and bad, that mom is not the ruler of. I am fodder for her comparisons and judgments. Other moms have longer hair, other moms are thinner, other moms take their kids swimming more often, other moms give their kids juice, other moms belly dance. It's not all bad, Smootch is actually an exquisitely empathetic child, but my selective memory seems to allow the harsher critiques to mentally resurface at my more insecure times. While she is always watching what I do, she doesn't always like it.
I suppose I should be thankful that the actual three dimensional representation of what Mom Pays Attention To was relatively benign. Of all the things they could of called me on, they chose to show what it is they see me do with my time and the things I hold dear.
I'm so glad they knew to put themselves in the picture.