A few years ago I became totally irritated at a complete stranger. We were standing in line waiting for the girls to ride the merry-go-round. I noticed a little girl who was smiling and having the time of her life as she spun around and around. Her mom was right beside her riding her own horse. My blood began to boil as I watched that mom. She was texting the entire time she was on the merry-go-round. She had never even noticed the joy on her little girl’s face. All the girl wanted was her mom’s attention. She yearned for her mom to look at her, to smile at her, and to just love being with her. But in that moment some nameless, faceless person was taking her mom’s attention away from her. My heart ached for that little girl.
I’m not much of a texter. As a matter of fact, I learned to text only 6 months ago. I’m still not good at it. I can’t walk and text at the same time. I certainly couldn’t text while riding a merry-go-round. It was easy for me to judge that mom because she was allowing something unimportant to me to consume her. But the truth is that I often become distracted by things and I don’t give my girls the attention that they deserve. I am merry-go-round mom.
My weeks are filled with chores, therapies, dance class, art class, church, and homeschooling. All of these things are time-consuming and they need to be done. I often get distracted by the urgency of the daily tasks and I fail to give my girls the attention that they deserve. I will be paying the bills and I hear “Mommy, look at this!” I say “Wow, that’s great!” but I really didn’t take the time to look at what my daughter is showing me. In that moment the checkbook and my calculator were more important than my child. Yes, I am merry-go-round mom.
Hope is constantly showing me pictures and videos on her Leapster GS. I’m so guilty of kinda-sorta glancing at them but not really stopping what I’m doing to be with her in that moment. One night I was sitting on the couch and Hope crawled up and sat beside me. She started showing me pictures on her Leapster. I stopped what I was doing and I gave her my full attention. She had taken numerous pictures of her big sister. She had used some clip art and added things to the pictures. As she showed me each picture, we began to laugh together. Within minutes, we were laughing hysterically. I’m so glad that I chose to just sit and enjoy my little girl. I chose not to be merry-go-round mom.
Just yesterday we had a little 2-year-old girl who loved to watch the Little Mermaid over and over again. She called her “Fire” because she couldn’t remember the name Ariel. She fell in love with books when she was 6 years old and she would read every book that she could get her hands on. She started going to art classes when she was 6 years old and at 8 years old she began playing the violin. We blinked and she graduated 8th grade. We blinked again and she got her driver’s license. That little girl will be 18 years old in just 3 months.
Just yesterday we had another little 2-year-old girl with the cutest pigtails. She absolutely loved Dora the Explorer. When she was 4 years old her favorite thing to do was catch toads. When she was 6 years old she joined her big sister at art class. At 11 years old she decided that she wanted to learn ballet. We signed her up for dance class and she has fallen in love with dancing. We blinked and she graduated from 8th grade. She’s now in her first year of high school.
Time has a way of going by way too quickly. Moments slip past us that we can never get back. I’m tired of being merry-go-round mom. Yes, the dishes have to be washed, the laundry has to be folded, the floors have to be mopped, and the toilets have to be scrubbed. But I’m tired of those things stealing moments away from my children. I want to put down the mop, the toilet brush, and the dish rag and just be mom. There are girls in my home who yearn for their mom to look at them, to smile at them, and to just love being with them. My girls aren’t going to one day think about their childhood and be thankful that they had a mom who could keep a house clean. They are going to look back and be thankful that they had a mom who loved them and who took time to make memories with them.
I’ve been thinking about that merry-go-round mom a lot lately. I hope she has chosen to put her phone down and just enjoy her little girl. I’m thankful for the lesson she taught me that day. Today and every day I want to choose to get on the merry-go-round with my girls and just leave my phone in the van.