I had a surprise email from my husband last week with a guest post on. He’d typed it and sent it to me on the train coming home from work, and it was lovely. As my laptop has travelled to France with us and as we’re enjoying some lovely family time with Scrip, I thought it was apt for this week. I hope it won’t be the last one.
Just as it is for any toddler, going to the park is a mainstay of Scrip’s day.
But when I took Scrip for her usual round on the swings last Sunday, something struck me: the almost complete disengagement (to a man/woman) of the parent from their child.
This is hardly ground-breaking news. I, for one, know I’m terrible for becoming embroiled in my SkySports app on a Saturday afternoon or, heaven forbid, looking at Facebook for no apparent reason. So pots and kettles and all that. What amazed me, though, was the parents becoming so systematically irritated when little Alfie wanted yet another go on the slide or was having yet another conversation with an imaginary friend. Standard parental disgruntlement you might say; worn down by the jibber jabber and repetition of toddler-speak. But there’s something more to it than that, and it’s been on my mind for a while.
We all forget how completely undiscerning our little offspring are. Scrip’s innocence and complete self-centredness never fail to amaze me. But she’s also amazed by everything and everyone; thinks nothing of saying hello to ‘the nice doggy’ or telling the person next to her in the queue at the Co-Op how she’s looking forward to eating her Muller Rice when she gets home. You can’t put a price on those moments and they won’t last forever.
It upsets me that my little girl won’t always be little. She won’t always seek total delight in seeing daddy run back and forth to the yellow gate in the park while I pull funny faces; nor will she insist on ‘helping’ me make my lunch each morning by pointing out each ingredient meticulously. I love these moments, and I try to take a mental photo of each (like an emotional scrapbook).
So while the allure of my Twitter timeline and the like seems a very real and necessary need, it pays to remember there is something very real, very present, and far more newsworthy, happening right in front of our eyes. After all, it won’t last forever.