I hadn’t removed my jacket or set down my briefcase before Anna came bounding down the stairs. While nearly standing on my shoes, she pleaded with me to come see something she created.
“Let me get settled first,” I said.
I got settled just in time for Luca to call everyone upstairs for dinner. While we ate, Anna reminded me again she had something to show me.
“After I finish eating.”
I wasn’t trying to avoid Anna although I’m sure that’s how she felt because after dinner I ended up in the living room playing with Kai while Luca and Lincoln hit me over the head with a pillow.
“Dad, can I show you something now?”
“Just a minute.”
But a minute never came because there was laundry to fold, a dishes to clean and a two-year old to keep from using the glue stick as lip balm.
It’s so easy to get distracted. One child needs attention while a dozen other small things get in the way. I tell myself I won’t get sucked down that hole of stuff that doesn’t matter. Yet I do.
My mom used to say that kids talk when they want to talk. They seldom talk on your terms, and you never know when they will pull up a chair and dive into an honest discussion.
I should have remembered my mom’s words, but I continued to put off Anna under the assumption that, once things settled down, I’d be able to see what she wanted to show me.
The house did eventually settle down. But my mind was off in another direction, and I forgot about Anna’s request. While I sat at the computer this evening, she snuck up behind me with two papers in her hand.
My heart sank.
“Can you staple these papers for me?” she asked.
I noticed one of the papers was an entry to a coloring contest while the other was the artwork she wanted to show me all evening. I tried as best I could to show interest and give her my attention, but it was too late. She came to me to get the papers stapled not to show me the picture she colored.
It was late by the time Luca and Anna crawled into bed. I chatted with Luca before kissing her goodnight. By the time I kneeled down at Anna’s bed she was asleep. I kissed Anna on the forehead knowing I missed an opportunity to connect with her.
I won’t make the same mistake tomorrow.