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Over time, as the Lord has begun to open my eyes regarding my need for being more intentional as a mom, I’ve come to the realization that there are additional relationship building opportunities beyond playtime at home that would benefit from me being more engaged and present in the moment…
And, you know, it really didn’t take too long for an opportunity to present itself where I could actually begin taking practical steps in that direction.
In fact, the opportunity came one day as I was at the local mall with my son.
On this particular day I decided to take my little guy to the oh-so beautiful bookstore by the name of Barnes & Noble. You know it well yourself… It’s the one with a Starbucks coffee shop tucked neatly in the corner with small tables that invite you to just sit and cozy up quietly for an hour or two with a good book…
In days past, that could have been something a “pre-mommy” woman like you or I could perhaps leisurely consider as a relaxed destination option, but these days, that’s not our draw. No, it’s what’s directly in front of us when we enter the store that brings us the “greatest” joy!
…The two escalators leading up to the “pot of gold” at the top of the “rainbow”!!!
And you, my friends, know the very place I’m talking about… Because it’s every stroller-pushing parent’s go-to spot!!!
The CHILDREN”S BOOKS SECTION!!!
Hooray!!!! (Yes, we are all looking for things to do with our little ones these day, and Barnes & Nobles just seems to get that. Oh how we love you B&N!)
Once we reach the top of the rainbow- by taking the elevator, of course- we excitedly remind our little ones that we are about to arrive at our primary destination in that area…the train table!!!!
Okay, Class, now let’s all say it together, “Hooray for the trains!”
Our little ones are excited and so are we. We love them oh-so much and just want them to have the most fabulous time and loads of fun every single day… Truly that’s just something God placed in our hearts as parents.
So, we stroll our little ones over to the train table and lovingly lift little “Johnny” or “Suzie” out of the stroller and repeat, “Yay! Look where we are! The Trains!!! Hooray for the trains!!!”
And then what do we do next……..?
…And we get on our iPhones while they play.
No… Of course the story’s not over… because on this particular day, I was really excited about being more intentional as a mom and giving my son the gift of my focus and attention.
I hadn”t started writing the blog post on “Confessions of a Self-Diagnosed ADD Mom” just yet, but God was already working on my heart regarding my need for being more engaged during playtime with my son.
So, my friends…. On this day….
“Yes, yes?” I can hear you say. (Oh, I just know all of you are holding your breath.)
On this day…..!!!!
I decided to PLAY WITH THE TRAINS! (Cue the applause soundtrack, as I curtsy and take a dramatic bow.)
Yes, Dear Friends. I decided to play with my son at the train table. No, I may not be the best at playing trains, but truthfully that doesn’t really even matter….because it’s my time and focused attention that are what truly counts during moments like these.
And you know what…. In addition to enjoying the time with my son at the train table and seeing him happy that I was involved in train play, something also took place that helped reinforce the value of making that decision. I was actually able to catch a glimpse of what that time “could have been like” if my mindset had not been changed earlier that day by the awareness of my need to be more intentional in my focus during playtime with my son.
A few minutes into our play, another parent also came to the train table with his little girl. (She was probably around three or four. And “Hooray for the trains!!!” was, I’m sure, his thought as well.)
But viewing this scenario, from my place at the train table with my son, was almost like watching my own version of Charles Dickin’s classic “A Christmas Carol”….as I watched a past version of myself in his response to the amazing train table.
He brought his child to the train table…
He sat on a chair…
And then he went on his iPhone…
I think at one point, he even asked his little girl to look at him, perhaps for a picture… (And sadly, I could identify…) As parents we sometimes think, “Let’s take a picture of our cute little one in this moment, while he/she is doing something fun…” All the while, we as parents are not active participants in that fun.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying all of our photos as parents are of moments in which we are not actively present. But in this moment, I could identify with that father from times past at the same train table.
Yes, take pictures of your children having fun. Yes, celebrate along with them that there is a train table at the “top of the rainbow” in Barnes & Noble…
But, for goodness sake… Play with the trains!
And leave the chairs empty…
And let your iPhones starve for your your attention….
Because in this moment, only one can be fed… And it’s either your phone or your child.