Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm Busy

“I’m busy.” It’s a phrase I am very familiar with. I say it and hear it quite a bit. But one day not so long ago when the words came out of the mouth of my four-year-old daughter, they were like a slap in the face.

One afternoon while my daughter was enjoying her daily “quiet time,” contentedly playing in her room with her dolls, I spent some time getting the dining room table ready for some crafts I had worked particularly hard on. I was excited to spend some quality-time with my child, free from the distractions of work and house-hold tasks that usually kept me busy, and eager to put on my “play time” hat with my creative, imaginative little girl. When I was all ready, I eagerly knocked on her door, and when she answered I excitedly told her I had assembled some fun things for us to do. I was expected a squeal of glee from her, but was greeted instead with words that shook me: “Not now mommy, I’m busy.”

Busy? How could a four-year-old be busy? How could a four-year-old even understand the concept of being too busy to do something fun?

The answers to those questions of course led me to the harsh realization that she had learned those words from me. So often busy with my own chores, the work I do from home, or my own selfishness in simply wanting to do my own thing for a change, I must confess that I have brushed her invitations to play off with the excuse that I’m too busy. I’d never considered how that felt to her, until that humbling day when she was too busy for me.

This got me thinking about how much we can miss out on in our families, our marriages, and relationships when we allow ourselves to be consumed by busyness. So often we hear stories of those who, when faced with the end of their life, come to realize this too late. If I've learned anything in recently turning 40, it's that time goes by so fast. Too fast. And if I don't slow down and savour the minutes I have, they'll be gone before I know it. 

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