Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Ta-Da, Mommy!

Baby at Play by Thomas Eakins, 1876

As a mama working from home with two home schooled kids, one of whom is only kindergarten aged, I know a lot about interruptions. People frequently ask me, "How do you get anything done?" And in answer, I usually have to shrug. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I only do by popping earbuds in and turning on some instrumental music to drown out Max & Ruby or Octonauts. Sometimes I do a lot of growling about, "Please, just five minutes without squabbling. Please."

For the most part, my kids are good at entertaining themselves. But as I was trying to hammer through the last few chapters of my manuscript the other day, I found that the interruptions were of a certain type. Rowyn was building. And when Rowyn in building, I hear a lot of this:

"Look, Mommy!"
"Mommy, see what I did here?"
"Hey, Mama, do you know where the other piece like this is?"
"Mommy, ta-da!"

Despite being pulled yet again from my story, I had to smile. It's such a cute and intrinsic part of childhood, isn't it? That need to be not just noticed but acknowledged. To have one's actions and accomplishments cheered and encouraged.

I remember those days. I remember standing at the edge of the pool and saying, "Watch, Mommy. Mommy? Hey, Mommy, watch me! Look what I can do!" before jumping in. I remember rushing in from a day of school, waving the picture I'd colored or the fat red A on the top of a test. I remember my mom smiling and laughing, giving me a kiss. Even though sometimes she was probably thinking, "Yeah, look at you, jumping into the pool exactly like you did twenty seconds ago." ;-)

An adorable part of childhood, to be sure. And yet...not peculiar to our early days, is it? Maybe I don't have to show my mother every paragraph I write anymore (I mean, as I write it--she still reads most of what I put to paper, LOL). Maybe my every move isn't a cry of "Look! Notice me! Approve of what I'm doing! Be proud!" Not aloud--but we never really outgrow the instinct, do we?

I can't design a book cover without showing my husband or best friend. I can't finish a hard day without inviting someone to note all I accomplished. I can't scrub a floor without surveying it at the end and saying to my kids, "Just look at that! Doesn't that look nice?"

People crave approval like we crave air--it's a necessary part of who we are. We need those pats on the head. We need the smiles. We don't necessarily need someone to say, "Wow, that's the best thing ever!" We just need to know they see. That they notice. That they care.

It can be tiring to be the one always having to notice, without often being noticed (says the mom with young kids who really don't care about a clean floor, LOL). But you know, people pay attention to that too--and more, God does. I think he must smile over our every indulgent smile. I think He must pat our backs when we pat the back of another. I think He loves little more than watching His children love one another.

Sometimes I need the reminder to slow down and notice. To spare those few seconds that make another's day. So this is me reminding myself. And it's me reminding you. Pay attention today. Take a few seconds to let those in your life know you're watching, you're really seeing them, that their ever little action is a precious part of your day, of your life.

Cherish those ta-das. There's nothing else in the world like them.

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