I have a secret.
I am a moms’ group drop out. I researched for months and found a local playgroup so that my daughter and I could meet some local moms and kids. I joined, paid my dues, and then I flunked out. They didnâ€™t ask me to leave or ban me from membership; I just stopped going.
I didnâ€™t fit in.
The problem wasnâ€™t the other mothers or the other kids. The problem is that Iâ€™d rather play with my daughter than sit and chat with the other moms.
My own mother thinks Iâ€™m weird.
Iâ€™m one of those play-on-the-floor moms. Iâ€™m not only tuned in to what my toddler is doing; I want to be a part of it. I zoom the trucks around and read books and make the animalsâ€™ noises. I talk and squeal with her while we play. The other moms at our playgroup supervise their kids, but they donâ€™t participate in the play.
I join in.
When Iâ€™m out in public with my daughter, other adults often offer me a seat because I sit down on the floor. I never take it; Iâ€™d rather sit on the floor and play with my toddler. No matter where we are, we play with the toys. I chase her, and she chases me. I point out objects in the room and in pictures and books. We have fun, and weâ€™re usually more than a little raucous.
I love every minute of it, and her laughter, hugs, and kisses tell me that she loves it, too.
For me, being present in my daughterâ€™s life isnâ€™t the same as being in the same room at the same time. Itâ€™s not about watching her play. Being present, to me, is playing together, being involved with her thoughts and actions, and actively communicating with her.
As she grows up, I hope my daughter will recognize that I would do anything to spend more time with her. I hope she remembers what a happy toddler she was and the times we sat on the floor or in the grass and played.
I doubt that sheâ€™ll remember, but I know Iâ€™ll never forget.
Even if she doesnâ€™t recall the moments or the days, my daughter will remember feeling loved and adored and knowing that she commanded my full attention. Sheâ€™ll remember the way she felt when I tickled her belly or pushed her in the swing and how she was important enough to be the center of my world.
I know that all parents donâ€™t enjoy playing on the floor. Whether you do or you donâ€™t, you can still be present in your childrenâ€™s lives. You can create moments theyâ€™ll remember. Let them be the center of your attention. Make them special breakfasts or desserts.
Donâ€™t just sit in the same room: Get involved. Draw together. Talk. Play a game. Enjoy their toys together.
You will never regret the time you spent being present in their lives.
© 2008 – 2011, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.