My 13 year old has a bus stop 5 houses down and everyday I drive her to the bus stop. We leave 10 minutes early to sit 5 houses down and wait for the bus.. seems silly doesn’t it. I do it because I get 10 minutes with her alone and no distractions.. this is 10 minutes that I can’t get anywhere else. This is my time with her…
I also drive my oldest daughter to high school each day and that is the best time of the day to talk to her… And on the flip side, I’ve learned that trying to have an important conversation with her after cheer practice at 5:30 is not even worth it. Teenagers are not much different than adults.. we all have our best times of the day.. and our worst times.
My girls are in their teens and our lives are busy. We are not all together all the time. We do not eat all our meals together or watch movies together. They do not all have the same interests and likes. We do not all make it to every activity together. They spend weekends with friends, sports competitions, and sleeping til noon. This is very different from when they were little.
My son is 9 and loves video games. I’ll just pop down on the couch next to him and ask him about the game. It’s a quick 5 minutes of me asking him about the game he’s playing and trying to teach me.
It has taken me a while to understand that we don’t always need to be together. In my head, I had all these fun days planned over Christmas break .. maybe the museum, movies, or mini golf. And in reality none of that happened, we ended up going out to lunch one day. And honestly, It was perfect. They didn’t need the full day of activities to have a fun day like I have envisioned. Sometimes I forget that they just like it simple.
I have learned that we do not need to spend 8 hours together all the time. They are all at different stages of their lives and sometimes lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings is all that’s needed.
As they get older, they are learning their independence and I’m learning to give it to them. It’s hard. It’s a balance between what I need from them and what they need from me. Some weeks it’s one sided. I used to get so irritated that my middle schooler would come home and go right to her room. Finally I learned that’s what she needed right after school and that later on after 9 pm I would get my time with her.. as she would come watch tv with me.
So sometimes 20 minutes a day is all I need. Give me 20 minutes of undivided time with each child and I learn more about their lives than spending the day with all three.
20 minutes a day seems so minimal.. but sometimes you can learn so much in that time. I spend hours every week at sporting events, church, and school events for my kids but it’s the random few minutes that are the most important.
It’s the quick ride to school or grabbing a Starbucks or waiting at the ortho before her appointment that matters the most. It’s those random small intervals that we can just talk… not lecturing or probing for information, but just everyday conversation.
I love those moments. They are what counts right now.