A Lesson in Parenting
My daughter and I curled up on the couch together yesterday.
She had a little cough coming on, I was a little worn out from a busy week. We had Barefoot Contessa on and a fire going and a favorite faux fur blanket enveloping us that is just a little too short so our long limbs poke out the end, uncovered, every time.
We laid there watching Ina Garten whip and peel and stir. We smiled every time she said “now how easy is that?” We let our breathing fall into sync, the rest of the house caught in a rare, still moment of silence. We tugged on the blanket and commented on the warmth of the fire. We sat patiently through the commercials, instead of hastily fast-forwarding them, taking in the holidays jingles in a semi-awake daze.
I should get up and figure out dinner, I thought.
I should answer that client’s email, I thought.
I should order that thing I need on Amazon Prime, I thought.
I should call my sister back, I thought.
I should fold that laundry, I thought.
There were so many other things that I felt I needed to do. I could do. I should do. Things that had to be attended to and things on my to-do list. Things that were “important” and things that I couldn’t ignore.
And then I realized I was doing something right in that moment. Something that I needed to do more than anything else. Something I should be doing more of. Something that is simply more important than anything else.
I was doing absolutely nothing with my daughter. And it was everything.
I was showing her that no to-do list or email or chore was more important. I was showing her that I could slow the whole world down just for her. I was showing myself that this was the only place I needed to be in that moment and that that was perfectly ok. And I was so happy that I could recognize that moment and the importance of it and know in my heart, guilt-free, that I was actually doing so much in that lazy, semi-awake daze.
So I laid there a while longer. I looked at her long feet, sticking out from the end of that blanket. I watched the fire flicker and jump. I giggled with her when Ina added a little more salt. Always a little more salt.
And I gave that blanket another gentle tug.