I have been noticing all around me parents who are 'there but not there' at their kids' events, or not even physically there. As a coach, I see all kinds...as a parent supporting my kids, I see all kinds. Parents who drive up, drop off, and come back to pick up when it's all over. Parents who come, but spend the whole time texting or doing whatever they do that is so important on their phones. That drives me crazy. People get so wrapped up in being constantly available, or in their own self-importance, that they can't even leave the phone put away for an hour and a half. Really? When my child looks up in the stands or out in the audience, I want them to see that I see them. I want them to feel like what they are doing matters to me. (Even when I would rather be someplace else, even when I'm cold, even when whatever, I want them to know that, in that moment, nothing is more important than supporting them.) I don't want them to look up and see my head down, absorbed in some electronic device.
Be there. Be present. If you are at a game or a concert or the pumpkin patch or wherever, be there. When you are at work, be there. When you are at home, be there. Wherever you are, be there. Your kids notice.
The season of attending these things that matter to them is so short. It will be gone soon. They will remember being supported. They will also remember the times that we were "too busy" to be there. We all have times where an event isn't possible, but what are you characterized by? Are their activities such an inconvenience to our lives? Say no to other things more. Set boundaries. Turn off your phone. Turn on your attention. They notice.
I've seen a child's eyes light up when someone is there for them. I've seen the melancholy in their eyes when no one is watching.
I want my kids to know that they matter to me. Even today, if I had my way, I'd like to go for a long run, take a long shower, put on some cozy jammies and curl up with a good book or a good movie. But my kids matter more, and soon enough my calendar won't be full of all their events. Soon enough I'll have a quiet house and a stack of books to read. And I'm sure, I'm sure, I will miss this. I don't ever want to miss it with regrets. So I'm going to be there. Wherever there is today.
A moment I'm glad I didn't miss!