I came across the story below reading quickly through my emails. I had a chance to rummage through my in box, in solitude, as my daughter napped from our earlier-than-dawn retail rendezvous. The words immediately resonated with me. Just days before my daughter asked me to watch a movie with her…with one condition. She wanted me to just watch the movie– no magazines, no emails, no crafting–nothing. Just watch the movie.
This wasn’t the first time she expressed disappointment that I multi-tasked when we were together. In my world, what’s the harm in shrinking the ever-growing pile of junk mail while we watch a mullet- haired Uncle Jesse teach an important lesson to Michelle…one more time?
Wanting to be a good and dutiful mother, of course I put everything aside…everything except my 12 year old daughter who wanted to spend time with me. We didn’t talk much. I don’t even remember what movie we watched. Yet, thinking back, I wish I could freeze that moment of time–where we were just together. It meant more to her than I understood and therefore it meant the world to me.
I can hear the voices around me reminding me that time flies and I’m lucky she wants to spend time with me. They are right. There was nothing momentous about that night. Actually, we both drifted off to sleep while the t.v. played on. But, I spent time with my daughter. Something she requested that was so easy for me to give. After reading the story below, I realize that “time” is a better gift than anything that could be purchased in a Black Friday deal.
You can imagine how the story in today’s news touched my heart. I hope it touches yours as well. I’m so thankful for my family and for the lessons they teach me, especially my daughter who is a million times wiser than her age would suggest.
This story is reprinted from the Facebook page of David Rosenman- November 22, 2015
This morning, at her request, I took our 9-year-old daughter to a coffee shop. She brought with her a little crocheting activity; I brought the newspaper, a notebook & pen, and my phone. This was going to be an outing not unlike others we’d had before: while sitting at the same table, we’d do our own things — she’d keep herself occupied with something, and I’d catch-up on emails, organize my week, get work done, etc. Sound familiar? Today, she made one additional request: “Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?” I’m not trying to be melodramatic; that was her question. So today, we were together. She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on “dates” (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare). She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her. I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.
Before we left, I went up to the counter to order a take-out snack for her brother. When I returned to our table, there was a note, left face-down, in front of my seat. My daughter told me that a woman, before leaving the coffee shop, had asked her if I was her father and said that the message was for me. I looked around (nobody was there) and flipped over the paper to find the words below. This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness.