Lately, I feel like I’m only aware of the splinters of my school age kids’ lives. The parts that I catch in passing and only if I’m paying attention. Partly my fault, distracted, busy. Partly not, they are growing more independent with school, sports, music, and friends branching out in all directions.
Yesterday Anna told me that she’d tried out for, and gotten a part playing the xylophone in their music class, TWO WEEKS AGO. She only mentioned it in passing. A splinter for her Mom.
Josh got to look through a solar telescope at the sun. I found out about it through his teacher’s instagram. A glimpse into his life.
My Mom always made me feel like whatever I was saying was interesting. I could ask my Dad anything.
These little ones in my life are not a distraction from the important things, but are the important things themselves. so…
I put away my phone at breakfast, instagram and blogs could wait (that’s what hiding in the bathroom in the afternoon is for…) But I didn’t glean a lot, too much pulling on me to get everyone out the door.
I put my phone away after school and sat down with them while they ate their snack.
“Tell me five things about your day.” I’d say.
“It was good, awesome, cool, fantastic, and fun.” replied Josh ticking them off on his fingers. “Can I go now?”
“I forgot,” said Max.
I tried, “What’s the best thing that happened to you?”,
“What’s the worst?”
“Did anything funny happen?”
“Did you do anything kind?”
and finally, “What did you play at recess?”
Josh nearly always gives short, goofy uninformative answers anxious to get outside, to find his friends, or head to practice.
Anna will sometimes answer, but she’s often antsy to get to her room, to relax to create, needing a break from all. the. people.
But sometimes I can sneak up to find her, join in her creating. Busy hands, occasional questions, lots of silence, but more splinters I can use to piece together her life.
Josh’s sweet spot is at night. When his body is finally tired. I scratch his back, busy hands, occasional questions, more splinters. Sometimes I zone out, my own mind and body tired, but I refocus, because the splinters matter.
As they grow, the responsibility of parenthood rests more heavily on my shoulders. A prayer is often in my heart, how else will I know what to ask and when, when to press, when to push and when to step back and watch unless I ask the one who knows them best.
I am sometimes short tempered, often distracted.
I find myself saying, “That’s awesome, tell me all about it when you’ve finished your practicing and your room.”
Max yells, “Mom look at me! I’m talking to you!” In all fairness he’s always talking to me. But someday he won’t.
So I try,
But there is joy in glimpsing what it might look like when it’s complete.
And this is the face that you get when you want Max to take just a couple more staged pictures so you have an image to go with the words in your head.