I think attention is the single most important thing we can "give" our children. It means more than all the toys and treats we could buy them. Our attention gives them a piece of us and we are what they love most in this world. Giving the gift of attention is giving the gift of our time and love. It tells them, "you are important to me."
My two and a half year old daughter has been going through phases of needing extra reassurance. I'm sure this has something to do with my belly getting larger by the day and her sensing that a lot will be changing soon. Most recently that reassurance comes in the form of wanting to know that even when she can't see us, i.e. the middle of the night, that we are still both here. Lately it has also taken the form of wanting to be rocked which we haven't done in a long time. But I will play along because it means cuddling my sweet girl who is growing up so fast.
Tonight as my daughter climbed back into bed after her reassurance and rocking, I got a second request for attention. This time it was from the daughter growing in my belly. For a good half hour she did some acrobats to get my attention, settling for short times each time I placed my hand on my belly, only to excite back up again as I got still or started to drift to sleep. "Fair enough, little one, you get your time too."
My husband and I have come up with several ideas for making sure each of our girls will have some individual attention once the second arrives. We know how important attention is and how much more important it will become when it is split between two.
There have been days I have worried about how that will look when I am home alone adjusting to two with my first daughter used to my sole attention and an infant needing plenty of it too. But tonight I feel no worry only joy and contentment as I give each daughter the time she requests. I may be tired tomorrow but this phase, in the grand scheme of life, is so short that in this moment I just want to cherish it.
I'm grateful for my amazing daughter that gave me the title "mommy" and never ceases to inspire me. I'm grateful for all the love I can feel for one person even as I am redirecting an unwanted behavior. I'm grateful to hear how she interprets the world and to see her fears through her requests and needs. I'm grateful to go to her when she calls and give her attention and all my love to reassure her. I'm grateful to rock my sweet girl because I know there will be a day when she no longer fits in my arms that way. I'm grateful for the beautiful blessing of a second daughter on the way. I'm grateful to imagine she has a little fire and pep in her with all the acrobats she seems to be enjoying in there. I'm grateful for the excitement to see what personality I will be meeting in just a few short months. I'm grateful to understand that my attention is such a powerful gift. I'm grateful to plug into what is important and feel only joy at the connection I receive in return.
What has your attention? What are you "plugged into" and giving your attention to these days? Who in your life is asking for some of that attention?
May today let us unplug from all the things that do not matter and "plug in" to the ones we love. May we give the gift of our attention and the greatest gift of love. Have a beautiful day!