All I really wanted...
It's one of my big dreams and most important goals in life is to write children's books. For years I have felt drawn to doing this and I'm not sure why. Every now and again I will start and then other things come up and I abandon my little stories again. There is also a little voice that shows up and says, "who do you think you are do write children's books?" But the dream doesn't go away.
About a week ago, after reading the book "Grit" by Angela Duckworth I decided that perhaps I would start with doing some research into successful children's books and how to write for children of different ages. There was a story of a cartoonist in the book who used this approach to get his cartoons published. Now, I just got off a flight and on this flight was a movie that told the story of how Winnie the Pooh was created (Goodbye Christopher Robin) and so I thought to myself "Great! Let the research and learning begin!"
I really enjoyed seeing how the characters came to life, how the author lived and worked, how he collaborated with an illustrator and so on. It was a great learning for me. But it was one specific thing that struck a chord with me and had me sobbing inconsolably.
Spoiler alert: stop reading now if you don't want me to tell you anything about the movie.
The son of the author was featured in the Winnie the Pooh stories and he became quite famous. His childhood transformed from playing in the forest with his dad to doing interviews, answering fan mail and being stopped by strangers everywhere he went. And his parents were quite swept away by the success and didn't have much time for him anymore.
Many years later, he has a heart-to-heart with his father. And one simple short sentence brought on a fountain of tears for me. It moved me because I could hear the voices of so many children that I see in the world today, who have everything except what they want most. Children whose parents might be stressed with work, are traveling a lot, are emotionally absent because they are filled with their own marital challenges or other pre-occupations and so on. Sounds quite normal no?
What he said to his father was: "All I wanted was you."
The pain and sadness in his voice echoed on in my mind as if he was saying it for so many children in the world. Children that long for a connection with their parents, who long for some quality time with them and who just want to enjoy their childhoods.
So this is a reminder to all of you parents: All that your children really want is YOU. To be heard by you. To be seen by you. To be accepted by you. To be understood by you. To be with you.
That can be a minute of really looking into their eyes. Or ten minutes of playing with them being present with your body, mind and heart. Or taking a minute to really listen to them when they are bursting to tell you something. Or mindfully taking them in your arms and telling them that you love them just for being.
It might not seem like much but it matters. I know it's easy to get caught up in logistics of all that needs to be done or re-thinking of what was said and done. But you know what? The past is already gone and the future might still bring many changes. The only moment we ever really have is the present and before you know it they will be grown up.
Here's my challenge to you: no matter what is going on in your life, find just a few precious minutes so that your children know that they have you. You might know it, but do they?