At one point several of us—including my six year-old granddaughter, Mackenzie—were sitting outside on the deck talking. Then for a variety of reasons, everyone but Mackenzie and I went back inside. As soon as we were alone, she jumped up from her chair, climbed up on my lap, gave a big sigh and said, “Finally, Nanna, it’s just you and me.” This of course was followed by some snuggle time and conversation about Two-socks the horse, Bonnie the dog and first-grade learning experiences.
Mackenzie’s ‘relief’ at it being just the two of us wasn’t rude or unkind. She loves her Grandpa, her aunts and uncles, great-grandparents and cousins. She also thoroughly enjoys spending time with older second-cousins who aren’t so old that they think a six year-old is completely annoying. No, Mackenzie just needed some one-on-one time with her nanna—the very same kind of personal time your kids and/or grandkids need from you.
You may be thinking it’s hard enough to get everyone where they’re supposed to be on time while trying to get everyone’s laundry washed and put away, keep the house picked up, meals cooked and all the other necessary things that are required of you to keep everyone’s lives up and running. But think about this…your family won’t be a family if its members aren’t loved and cherished and made to feel special. Instead, you’ll be nothing more than a group of people surviving together under the same roof.
That’s why it is important to spend time with each child; talking just to them, praying just with them, playing a game just with them, doing chores and fun projects just with them, going on a ‘date’ just with them. To do so will give each child the validation they need and deserve and allows you to really know your child as a person.
It’s like a jigsaw puzzle—even when the pieces are in the box or scattered on the table, it’s still a puzzle. But when you take the time to carefully look at each piece enough to know exactly how and where it fits those pieces become part of something everyone can enjoy.
Trust me, it’s soooooooo worth the time you don’t think you have—both for you and your children. I know this to be true, because a few weeks ago my daughter, Olivia, left Matt and Reuben at home overnight to spend the night and help me with a project the next day. As we sat in the restaurant enjoying dinner (just the two of us), she said, “I love it when we’re all together, but I really miss not having it be just you and me like we used to.”
I guess I'm going to have to do something about that, aren't I.