Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quality time--for everyone

This is a transition week. The summer vacation routine is in effect, but the kids’ summer camp experience has not yet started. This means that the mornings are slow (if not always quiet--sorry Karla), and that they begin with some sacred time between the early risers. SiSi has been a rooster since her earliest days. She comes by this honestly (as anyone who has known me since college can certainly affirm), and during the times when the grownups need to catch up on sleep it can be, well, a burden. She’s been “sleeping in” this week, though (till 7:30), so that’s been nice.

Once we’ve sent Mama on her way (she’s the resident working stiff during the summer), SiSi and I grab our breakfast and go outside. We sit, sip coffee and smoothie, chat and listen to the sounds of the morning. OK, the kid does the chatting and the Papa does the listening to the sounds of the morning. Still, it represents wonderfully intimate quality time and we both get a lot out of it.

NiNi and I get our version of that same time in different ways. Sometimes, it comes from doing things together--yesterday, for example, she and I went grocery shopping (which she likes because she gets to do all the price scanning). Sometimes we get it from just chilling. We don’t do it quite so often anymore, but we used to take naps together. She’s a great nap partner!

In pondering this concept, I realized this morning that I haven’t been spending as much quality time lately with our teenager-in-residence. She gets a lot of attention from Wifeness (which is at it should be), but it’s important that she know I value the time we spend together, too. It seems like it’s been more about the other two kids when she and I are in each other’s company of late, and that’s not fair. She should get to have the full attention of the Papa, as well.

Karla and I used to take quality time together a lot but, curiously, we haven’t been bonding quite as often recently. I’ve allowed myself to be focused on other things, and I’ve been lax about making the effort to nurture that special attachment we have. Attachment is an integral part of strong and healthy relationships, particularly between chosen family, and it deserves constant attention.

I take responsibility for not doing more to connect with her in those ways, but I’ll need to reach out to her for some help in doing that more. The thing about quality time is that it can rarely be dictated by an individual. If the important thing about it is that both people share something with each other during the experience, then it must be recognized that it can’t be done unilaterally. So, I’ll see what she thinks. I’m sure that, between the two of us, we can figure something out.

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