My 10 year old daughter and I have started this new thing of going for walks together whenever time allows. The walks usually last about 30 minutes or so and it allows her to have alone time with me without me being ‘distracted’ by anything else. ‘Anything else’ means my phone, computer, my son, husband..etc… I’m completely hers for that walk and she takes full advantage of it. You wouldn’t think 30 minutes is a long time for someone to put down their phone or computer but it really is! I have to actually time our walk correctly to make sure that I’m not needed during those 30 minutes so a lot of prep goes into this. You also wouldn’t imagine the things that would come out of a 10 year old’s mouth during a 30 minute casual conversation where you’re actually listening to the things she is saying…oy
Normally she just hits me hard with something like, ‘We were playing Truth or Dare at school and….’ or ‘Last week I got 2 strikes in school…’ I literally have to clear my brain before these walks and prepare for the onslaught of 10 year old confessions that I know is coming and will continue to come until she beats me down.
This last walk we talked about New Years resolutions. She asked me what my 2012 resolutions were, however before she could let me get out my first one she answered for me and said, “more time off your phone”. I stopped walking and looked at her for a second. It was one of those moments as a parent when your kid was telling you something that you didn’t realize that they had been aware of or affected by. Well maybe I was aware of it but just figured that she was on board with my crazy life and knew that this was how it was. Put down my phone? Then she says, ‘Yeah, maybe for like 1 day a week you don’t have your phone or your computer and you just spend it with me like what we’re doing right now.’ Then she flashes a big smile at me like it’s the most brilliant idea.
Two things immediately flooded my brain
- After 10 years of working 24/7 my kid has finally called me out and had enough
- The thought of putting down my phone and computer for 1 day a week seemed like the most impossible thing to do and I was suddenly having a panic attack
- Okay I added a 3rd…my 10 year old actually does know more than I thought which is very very bad
Since she threw this on me early I had to think of how to handle it to make the most of the walk. I frantically search my brain for how to make this work. Can I do that? One day a week without my phone or computer? That’s what normal people do and I am definitely not normal and my job is definitely not normal. I think she realizes that I’m about to have a heart attack and she starts to go into compromise mode. Fifteen minutes later we agreed to Saturday & Sunday mornings without phone or computer and 30 minutes in the evenings after school where I was completely hers to discuss school & homework. She seemed pleased with the outcome (and agreed to flexibility if needed). She asked me about my other resolutions and what they were. She suggested keeping a list somewhere in the house so that we could keep track of our goals and not forget them. This conversation seemed very familiar all of a sudden but not one that I have had with my 10 year old….
I made a promise to her that we wouldn’t wait until next year to make the changes in our lives that we needed to make. That we’ll use these talks and our time together to make sure we’re doing the things we want to do in life. I also made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t forget this conversation with her or the look on her face or sound of her voice when she told me about the time she wanted to spend with me and just me.
Someone told me this year that no matter how busy you are, you can always make time for people in your life. Whether that time is 15-30 minutes a day or a few hours a week, it doesn’t matter. It’s actually making the time that matters and devoting yourself completely to that person. I actually didn’t think that the little time that I had to give would make a difference but gave it a try by starting these little walks where I was giving her all of myself for the entire walk. I was wrong. Any time that you have does make a difference.
I don’t make resolutions, but I do continue to make promises that I intend to keep to myself and my family. I’m excited for another year to make promises and keep them and continue to improve areas of my life that I haven’t been able to improve yet.
Thanks Emma for being you and for teaching me things that only a 10 year old daughter can teach a Mom.