The irony of the internet is that the very thing which serves to prick my conscience towards more time and involvement with my children, is the very thing with the tendency to rob me of both.
This morning after the first four kids were off to school, I was online looking up facts on sea lions for one child's upcoming dissertation (of course, while checking FB on the side.) Meanwhile my remaining child, Alec, was playing on the couch and waiting to walk with Daddy to his nearby school.
"Mommy?" Alec looked up from his Legos and across the room to me. "I wish you were a little kid. So that you could play with me."
The truth was that I didn't have to be online at that moment. The truth was that I knew Alec wanted to play with me, in fact since the day before he had been trying to tell me so. He had asked to play Wii yesterday afternoon and I put him off until I had to leave for an errand with two of his siblings, at which time I told him he could play then and have it all to himself. But when I came home I found him upstairs in his room and he hadn't played Wii because, he said, "I don't like it when I play by myself."
Even earlier yesterday, when I had just picked him up from pre-school and we stopped by the house briefly he had asked, "Mommy, can you and me play outside with the puppy together?" But I needed to gather athletic clothes for a sibling and zip off to pick up the next kid in the lineup so I said, "Not now." When the truth was, it would have taken all of five minutes and in those five minutes I found enough time to plunk my laptop on the top bunk and check e-mail while gathering the clothes I needed. I could have made the time to go outside, too.
So I read blogs like this one written by a daughter to her mother, remembering a long-ago time when the mother chose time and adventure with her kids over the many to-do's on her list and her daughter still remembers it to this day. Or blogs like this one written by the cousin of a young mother who died unexpectedly yet is remembered for making time for others and for that reason still inspires others to do the same. And even a blog like this one written by a young widow in response to a personal question about whether she misses sex, and in which she replies that what she misses even more is the intimacy - the "recipe of knowing, learning, remembering, falling, catching, and keeping" - and I am reminded that there cannot be investment in intimacy if there is not investment in time.
Now I could wrap this post up with a neat bow by saying, "So I got off the computer and played three races of Mario Kart with Alec and he went off to school happily" - and it would be true. But it would not be enough. Instead I am writing about it - therein again the irony, spending time on the computer rather than with a child (albeit none are home right now) - but I do so in hopes of reminding myself of what is truly important.