Last night my eleven year old son asked me to sing to him while he was going to sleep. Singing him to sleep was something I did when he was very young and not the best sleeper. Today, he has already acquired the sleeping habits of an adolescent, so his request caught me by surprise.
When I asked him what he would like to hear he chose “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon. So, I sat down on his bed and rubbed his back while I sang to him. And as I sat there in the moment, I realized my oldest son was teaching me the value of presence. Being entirely present to someone is a gift, and that is in essence what he was asking for. My complete focus
was on him with my mind, my voice and my touch.
It struck me today that there are only so many bed times in a child’s life. Already he is 11. There won’t be many more years of snuggling up in bed to read a book together, back rubs and singing. How many bed times have I rushed through over the years?
If you are a parent I’m sure you can relate to the exhaustion, frustration and the “just being done” at the end of a day with children. Some days, it would be all I could do to just make it to bedtime and I would rush the routine to get them to sleep. My thoughts would be not on my child but on the dishes that needed doing before I could go to bed, or the problem at work, or what I needed to prepare for the next day.
As I sang to my son again tonight (I can see this will be a routine for awhile), Mr. Lennon’s words rang true for me:
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
How much life has gone by while I have been too “busy” to be present in the moment?