I saw you today when I was out running errands. Your little girl was sitting across the table from you in the food court. She was beautiful. Pretty little dress, bouncy curls, sparkling eyes. She could hardly keep still because she was so excited about whatever it was she was telling you.
Only you weren’t really listening. I saw you look up at her every now and then, but even then your eyes were distant. You never really focused on her. You looked past her, and then you looked back down at your cell phone.
For a few minutes, she continued to bounce and squirm and chatter about something that was obviously very important to her. I guess she thought you’d eventually pay attention.
She finally noticed that you weren’t really paying attention to her at all.
Her little eyes stopped shining. Her little mouth stopped chattering. Her little body deflated like a helium balloon from yesterday’s party. In fact, she slipped out of her seat…right across from you…and went to the play area to find some other children to play with. Maybe she knew they would listen and pay attention to her.
Eventually, you finished your text message or web surfing or whatever else it was that you were doing while your daughter was trying to talk to you. You cleaned off the table, threw away the trash, put your cell phone in your purse, and called out to your daughter that it was time to go.
You didn’t even notice that your daughter was slow to follow you. That her eyes were sad. That she was no longer excited about being with you.
Will you notice when she begins to look to her friends instead of you for attention or for answers to her questions? Will you wonder why she no longer gets excited about spending time with you? Or will you realize now, before it’s too late, that your daughter simply wants you?
I hope so. Because those sparkling eyes and that sweet little smile are worth it.
She’s going to grow up one day. And guess how she’ll treat her own children? Yes, that’s right. She’ll treat them the way you treated her. And you’ll wonder why she doesn’t give her children her full attention. Why she seems distant. Why she spends her time on her cell phone instead of loving her children and looking at them and listening to them.
And then you’ll remember…
Momma are you listening?