As a parent, I absolutely do. Not the small stuff in my life - that phone call I need to make or the dirty dishes in my sink. They’ll still be there tomorrow, I know that.
I’m talking about the stuff that kids say that we adults have a tendency to think is small stuff. Like when my daughter comes home from school telling me that so-and-so isn’t her best friend anymore.
It’s easy to think that’s no big deal and they’ll be friends again tomorrow (they will). But in the meantime, it’s critical to really listen to her. To her it IS a big deal. I know that if I don’t listen to her now, she won’t tell me the bigger stuff when she gets older. It’s ALL big stuff to her.
And it’s not just the bad stuff. Recently my daughter performed her first singing solo in her school’s spring concert (she obviously does not get her singing ability from her mother!). It is all she talked about for at least two months prior to the event. She was so so proud (as was I) and excited about her moment in the spotlight. There is no way I would have missed this event!
When it was her turn, she belted out her line like a rock star – so well, in fact, that the couple seated next to me (who I did not know) asked “Is that your daughter? She’s amazing!”
It’s “small stuff” like being there, in that moment, that is so critical. Because, like I said, it’s all big stuff to the kids.
Now she’s taken to writing her own lyrics. And I’m putting them to music for her – I strum some chords on my guitar and she sings her heart out. I love the way that one “little” moment has turned into an incredible experience we can share.
My son is now close to four, and just starting to really tell me stories about his day. Often they still include Batman swooping in to save the day or something equally fictional, but he is a joy to listen to. He’s so very animated and expressive! And again, these stores ARE his world, no matter how “small” (they are actually quite grandiose!) they may seem.
He sometimes asks to come to work with me, but I tell him Batman doesn’t normally stop by my office. It’s neat that he wants to see what my day is like though.
So the laundry will wait until tomorrow. I’m busy sweating the small stuff - dodging batman and writing music. I wouldn’t miss these moments for the world.
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.