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Just a Minute : Prioritizing Your Kid

I was up late, my fingers flying over the keyboard as a stream of ideas came to life on the page. That is what writing is like, nothing for a while, and then a storm of words and keystrokes. I was in the throes of creativity when I heard our ancient hardwood floor creaking in such as way as to alert me to the incoming presence of a tiny person.


When I looked up at my office door, there was our seven year old, pajama clad, giant blue eyes staring at my face for a sign. I gave her a little grin and she ran and launched herself into my lap.


“Oh, sweetie! It’s so late!” I exclaimed as I pushed back from my desk and tucked her under my arm.


“I’ve been waiting for you, Mommy. I was waiting for you to come check on me and give me another kiss. I wanted you to lay with me for just a minute.”


At this point, the interaction could have gone one of two ways.


Scenario One

I could have looked down at her sweet and trusting face and gently explained that I was working and did not want to be disturbed. “Can you walk me back to bed?” she would have asked.


“Sure, but quickly and I have to come back to work,” I may have replied. I would have walked her back to bed, tucked her in, kissed her, ignored her pleas to lay with her for “just a minute”, and gone back to work. None of this would have made me a bad parent. It wasn’t what I would have gotten as a kid out of bed, which might have been a swat and a firm directive to just go back to bed.


Scenario Two

I listened to her sweet plea for my time, attention, and love. I reflected on how busy life has been since school started and how my little one might really need some extra emotional support right now. I pulled her closer and nuzzled her hair, pulling in the scent of her. I marveled at how grown she is, a big second grader now! I stood, still holding onto her hand, and we walked upstairs together. I did give her those extra cuddles and kisses. I did lay with her for “just a minute”. And when I left her bedroom I could hear her soft snores and was thankful.


My work was still there in the morning. But, more importantly, my little girl felt secure and loved. She will not always ask for me to comfort her. She will continue growing, ignoring my prayers for time to slow down. She will not sneak down the stairs and look into my eyes for permission to interrupt my nighttime writing frenzy. So, for now, on the rare occasion that she does seek me out in the night, I will push back from my desk, take her tiny hand, and lay with her. For just a minute.


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