I see you at the park, chatting with your friends, indifferent to your son or daughter who is climbing so high, jumping so far. “Watch me, mom. Watch me.” You barely glance their way before returning to your oh, so important conversation. Are you solving for x, resolving the country’s economic crisis. So when your child screams at the top of their lungs, “Get out of my way. It’s my swing.” I’m not surprised to find you don’t even notice it’s your child bullying the rest.
I am a little shocked, though why, I’m not sure, when your precious child comes crying to you, snuggles in close and bawls out their woes, “They won’t let me play. I don’t want them to use that slide. It’s mine.”
You swivel your head from side to side. You try to zero in on that child, the one that did this to sweet little Nicola/Nicolas and how dare they pick on your sweet thing what did they ever do to anyone and someone will pay.
At gym class today, your little one ran circles around you wanting attention, needing you to see them just once. Instead, asking for something, snacks, game systems, anything, “Give me, give me, give me.” Eventually you did, without even looking their way, pulling something, anything, out of your purse and handing it over. There may even have been a sigh, a deep, deep sigh, letting the child know that this time you were so very frustrated with them but you gave in anyway.
This time I’m not shocked when the thing you gave up so easily, after twenty pleas, does not please. Were back to begging for more because there will never be enough of that kind of love the giving kind of love, the seeking kind of love. And I long for my own little one to come rushing out of her class so I can bathe her in kisses and envelope her in hugs just because she is and for no other reason.
I hope my own little one will never have to yell in the middle of the playground to be heard or circle me for affection. I’ll swallow them whole first, so much love heaped on their hearts, swimming in pools of it. There is nothing they have to do to earn my affection and my notice. I see them.
I’m so sorry when those littlest ones around us get forgotten. Somehow get lost in the chaos of our lives. That’s not the way it’s meant to be. It isn’t meant to be a contest between them and the rest of the world. They are important. They are special. They are so very precious. Yet we set them aside for later, for when we have more time, more of ourselves to give them.
It needs to be now, though. They’re growing up with or without us and without us won’t be pretty, the screaming attention seeking Lilliputians will become some adult version of this, all tantrum throwing and self centered. I don’t want to see it. I get tired of seeing it. And maybe all it takes is looking in our children’s eyes, I mean really looking, sincerely looking, and saying, “I see you. You’re wonderful.”