Yesterday as I was rushing through the house in my usual hurried manner, I stumbled on a few markers, scissors and crumpled up pieces of paper my daughter left on the floor of her bedroom, rolled my eyes and grumbled, picked them up and threw into one of her storage boxes and then continued to whatever it was I was suppose to be doing.
Probably sending a quick email from my computer or folding my laundry, I don’t know… I forgot what it was.
What I won’t forget, is the feeling that shadowed me when my daughter came home from school, walked to my office desk and then with a look of sorrow, picked up a carefully constructed hand-made card she had left on my desk that I completely overlooked and then walked back into her bedroom, quietly shutting the door behind her.

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I realized then that that “annoying” mess she had left on her bedroom floor that I rolled my eyes at were the fragments of a beautiful and thoughtful handmade ‘Just Because” card she had made for me and left on my office desk for me to find, open and read.
It was too late though.
She knew I didn’t bother to look at it with sincere enthusiasm and attentiveness as she sees that I give when I’m on a business call, or opening a package or an important letter in the mailbox.
It’s the same look of impassivity I gave her last night when I was trying to finish up some work and she kept coming in and out of my office trying to excitedly tell me she was working on something special for me and couldn’t wait to surprise me with it tomorrow.
It’s also the same look she may have gotten when I’m prepping dinner while she eagerly and enthusiastically talks about what she and a friend did at school today during recess or a favourite new show she started watching and why she enjoys the lead character so much.
Probably what my son receives when he is trying to show me what he created with his megabloks or when he holds his Mickey Mouse up to my face and in his best squeaky mouse voice attempts to pretend Mickey has come to life and is trying to communicate with me.

*sigh*

Am I bad mom?  Really, I feel so dreadful and lousy inside.  This morning I cried a little when I opened up my daughters card that I finally found which she hid behind some of her stuffed animals (I asked her for it last night after apologizing and she said she put it somewhere but forgot where).  It was a card with the word MOTHER and words describing me for each letter of the word.  She also included some special coupons I could redeem which included helping with dishes, laundry, babysitting her brother, time alone to watch Netflix (bless her!) and hugs and kisses.  Okay, I did the ugly cry.  

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, I felt it was a good opportunity to remind myself and other well-meaning and hard-working moms out there to truly just allow yourself to listen to your children.  Really just stop whatever you’re doing, and tune into what they have to say.  

I imagined the feeling of when I’m talking to my parents or a boss or a friend about something that meant the world to me only to receive an aloof return.  It can certainly be dispiriting.  Especially when that particular persons feedback meant so much to you.  Especially in the little innocent heart and mind of a child.

I get very busy.  I know we all do.  We knuckle down this daily grind for the most important people in our lives, our family, our children, yet we often turn a blind eye to the in-between moments that are fairly significant in the eyes of our most precious gifts.  
I have been guilty for thinking: that I work hard for them, I plan the best vacations and experiences for them, I do this to buy them the greatest things, and they appreciate all of this, don’t they?… and use that justification over and over again in my head to make myself feel better for occasionally not having all the time in the world to be that in-the-now mommy that they are looking for.

I’m so tired of being busy.  Busy is such a dramatized word, with honestly, little to no meaning.  Nobody is every truly that busy.  Plain and simple: if you wanted to be available, and if something or someone meant something to you, you can spare those minutes out of your day to stop what you’re doing and just be there for them.  

The house is quiet now with just the sounds of the world outside my wide open window, the beautiful breeze cascading through my sheer curtains.  My son is taking a nap after an eventful morning.  After we came back in from the playground and after having a quick lunch, my son wanted to show me something he was playing on his iPad (he’s really into Roblox). I have a post that had to get up by end of day that I needed to complete and had my schedule set up so that I could do the work, jump on a quick business call just before I headed over to pick my daughter up from school.  Typically, I’d smile and nod my head and tell him how fascinating it was (even though I had no clue what he was talking about) and hope he’d mosey along so I can get going on what I needed to do.  Not this time.
This time, I sat next to him, watching his little chubby fingers maneuver the screen like a little gamer pro (he is amazingly good for his age – wow!), laughed and screamed along with him as he played and just stared at him. I didn’t realize how grown my little boy was getting and right before my eyes. His hair was a bit longer, his face slowly becoming more mature, that he had a cute little beauty mark that developed near his collar bone and how his toes curled and feet twisted together every time he laughed.
He smelled like fresh strawberries.
I stroked his hair and smiled at him and told him how much I loved him and how cool he was!
He smiled back at me for a brief second with a quick “Love you mommy” before his eyes darted back to his game.
I get it, little man, I get it. You’re too busy!

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12 comments on “The Unopened Card”

  1. Aww, this is really sad. I have little girls too and I’m learning how important it is to pay attention to those Dandelions they bring you.

  2. Aww! I’ve had moments like these with my own daughter & sometimes is hard to accept that THEY are teaching US. I’ve learned so many lessons from her about listening to her better, paying more attention. I am guilty on many occasions of kinda tuning her out when she’s telling stories about her friends etc but really need to be giving her the same respect that I expect from her!

  3. Ah….*sniff* I think this has happened to us all at one point or another our busy lives take over and stuff like this happens telling us to slow down.

  4. We must all remember…you cant get back lost time.Pay attention everyday i know life can be busy but dont let it take away the small pleasures

  5. I think we all get too busy these days and often “miss” the little things that mean so much. Great post and reminder….we all need to slow down a little and pay attention to what matters.

  6. What a lovely post! I’m glad you took the time to appreciate him as he did you on Mother’s day.

  7. Yes, I know this feeling all too well! We are constantly distracted or caught up in the daily grind that we fail to stop and fully enjoy the little moments. Sadly those moments during the week are few, because of everyone’s schedules. That’s why weekends are meant to be tech-free (for the most part) and all about spending time together as a family.

  8. It’s true but sad, we get caught up in our own lifestyles that we forget to just chill and relax and listen when our kids are trying to talk or show us something, instead of throwing them to the curb. I’ve done it myself many times and afterwards felt like a complete heel!

    • Ugh, tell me about it! I’m sure that we are a lot harder on ourselves than our kids actually feel but it goes to show how much they matter to us, right? Need a little reminder for myself every now and then though to really just take some time to really listen. After all, they grow so fast!

  9. Great post, Carol! You know, I catch myself doing this all the time and I needed the reminder to just give them a few more moments of my time when they need it. <3

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