The Present Of Presence
I'm sure that has to be one of the first chapters in the proverbial book of parenting.
Tell me I'm not the only one plying their children with promises of a Matchbox car or a cookie just to get through a Target run...And slowly the concept of giving "everything" to my children turned into giving my children "all the things."
This summer, however, I have closed that chapter in my book.
You see, Mino and Nelly have been away at "Granny's bootcamp" - ie, 40 miles away with my mother. Meaning I've been living life like a weekend parent.
I was tired of their crap (we pull no punches around here) and it was high time they became accustomed to the sense of structure and order I was raised with, but for the life of me I cannot duplicate.
And in being without my children on a day to day basis, I found the best gift I could give them - my time.
It's amazing how much we (I) can take for granted the joy and purpose our children bring to our day to day lives.
But we've savored our time.
We rode bikes.
We got up early every weekend morning for runs in the hot sun.
We made the grossest silly putty I've ever touched.
We went to the dreaded Chuck E Cheese.
We went to the Fair.
Nelly learned to read. Though he's still vehemently against the idea of growing up, and he's probably got the biggest teddy bear collection going into first grade.
Mino has turned into what I can only describe as an "angsty pre-preteen" (That's a thing now, yes I just made it up.)
But the biggest lesson has been not for their benefit, but for mine.
So often we get caught up in material possession; in giving our kids things and not time. I can acknowledge now that somewhere along the line I became guilty of that.
I became the "I'll give you ____, if you do ____" mom.
But time, my most precious commodity, is what I've learned to give them now; I'd rather give them experiences they'll remember over more junk to throw around my house.
And that's really the best gift, after all.