Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On Paying Attention

I am haunted by images of an adorable child in my past who was always eager to tell me his stories and share his unique view of the world  - with little or no implore on my behalf. 


(I told you he was adorable.) 

The images of this child...in my kitchen, in the backseat of my car, in my bedroom before dawn's earliest light and long after the last dish was washed in the evening...haunt me for one simple reason - I wasn't listening. 

I was busy.

Busy doing what, I cannot tell you.  Making the beds?  Baking the cookies?  Organizing the fundraisers?  Taking soup to the sick?  It is beyond anything worth searching for in my junk drawer of a memory, I can promise you that.

There is one scene that comes in loud and clear, though...from 13 years ago.  I was in the kitchen - busy. My storyteller was talking, and I was paying enough attention to say "uh-huh" and "really" in response. Exasperated, he stood up, looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Mom, you're not even listening."

He was right.  And he stopped talking.

That boy is 23 years old today.  His view of the world is now bigger than mine - so much more studied and wise and complete. He's traveled Europe, lived in California on his own, read hundreds of books I've only talked about reading, worked alongside the homeless, written music, played in orchestras and rock bands and church ensembles, loved deeply, lost painfully, and lived - always - authentically.

I am very lucky.  This boy still tells me his stories (although he usually waits to be asked).  It is one of the most significant measures of grace I have ever received.  I try not to think about the things I must have missed when I was too busy to listen.

We think they'll be 3 forever...and then, poof, they're 23.  Pay attention.


Happy Birthday, Travis! 

10 comments:

Mama de la Paz said...

Friends - I could not resist one quick detour on my writing road this month. Thanks for reading.

Now...back to NaNoWriMo. I'm crossing the 12,000 word mark today - 1/4 of the way there!! -MdelaP

Anonymous said...

He is adorable still...

- DC

Mama de la Paz said...

Yes, he is, PdelaP.

john langford said...

i remember when travis was about 5 and you were holding him on your hip while you and i were talking and he kicked me right in the groin.

while i doubled over in pain and tried to catch my breath, he announced with a big grin...."i'm takin' kwatee wessons!"

Mama de la Paz said...

Thanks for paying attention, John! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving me a reason to just sit and ponder Travis; past and present. I do believe his first word was "down" (as in put me...). He was already off to see the world. Our very own King Max setting off for the land of the wild things.
xoxo <3 sooz

AArdvarker said...

This is so true...mine grew up so quickly!

gay said...

A belated Happy Birthday Travis, (even though we only met briefly) when you worked with your Mom.

Tressa said...

WOW! I am in this stage right now! And SO needed to hear this!
THANKS for refocusing my attention on whats important!

Annette Tiberi said...

beautiful lesson- thanks for always having an open heart.