Everybody, it seems, wants my attention.
That the kids want my attention is, of course, a no-brainer. Emma still hasn’t realized that if she’s talking to me, I can hear her if she stands in one place and talks. No, she has to follow me around as she talks, so that if I’m getting supper or getting ready to leave in the morning she is always literally within two steps of me, chattering away about every thought that has ever crossed her mind. I try to remember to cherish these moments because the time will come when she is a silent and sullen teenager and doesn’t want to talk to me.
Christopher doesn’t dog my steps the same way (I’m sorry I just said “dog” but more on that later). His special time comes at bedtime when he asks me to come in his room and lie down with him. Right Away. Now, Mom. Not after you finish blogging. Now. And no matter how long I stay with him, he always wants me to stay just a few more minutes. I feel like I’m caught in a bizarre nightly replay of the Monty Python Argument Sketch — “That was never five minutes!” “Yes it was.” “No it wasn’t.”
Again, I know this is a privilege and I don’t take it lightly. He is a bit old now to say “Mom, I love you,” so when he says, “Stay just a few more minutes” I assume that is “Mom, I love you” in the language of Ten Year Old Boy. In fact, he is calling for me at This.Exact.Second. so I must go and finish this later….
…Then there’s the dog. Apparently dogs act up when they want attention. Max must be starved for attention this week. Yesterday he got out of “his area” of the house while we were at school/work and roamed freely throughout the house. He is perfectly well housetrained and can go from nine till four without needing to be let out … yet when given his freedom he chose to go and poop on the rug in both Christopher’s and Emma’s rooms. “Look! I was here! I left something for you!!!”
As if that didn’t get him enough attention, tonight we came home to find the garbage torn up and strewn about the kitchen. All this was a follow-up to his escape on Monday, when he broke free from where he was tied in the yard (we have to tie him on in winter because the snowbanks make our fence useless for keeping him in) and wandered the neighbourhood for a couple of hours with eight feet of chain streeling from his collar.
What kind of attention does this behavior deserve, I ask you?
At work, everyone wants my attention. Even when I’m not physically at work. An MSN message from a student popped up as I was writing this. It was an important message and one I was glad to answer. As I’m glad to answer every question from everyone who drops by my room or comes to my desk wanting … attention.
Jamie told me today I have to update my blog, so I guess by blogging regularly I basically have created a whole new class of people demanding my attention.
On the other hand, last night someone who obviously didn’t want my attention pried our car window open and broke in. They found nothing except candy wrappers, Kleenex and old parking tickets, but they did enough damage to the window that we had to leave it at the garage overnight tonight to get it put back into the doorframe. Thank goodness for Mom and Dad and their willingness to loan us a vehicle! So on the whole, attention-seekers may be better than attention-avoiders.
When I feel like I’m down to my last nerve with everyone wanting a piece of me I remind myself again that this is a blessed time when my life is full of people who need me. I remember Billy Crystal’s quote from When Harry Met Sally about dying one of those “horrible New York deaths” where you die alone in your apartment and nobody notices till the smell starts to bother the neighbours. And I think, at least at this stage in my life, that’s not likely to happen to me.
It’s Lent and I’m supposedly focusing more on God with the small self-denial of giving up chocolate (which, I have to tell you, would have helped A LOT on the day I had to clean up all the dog poop — of course, I would have washed my hands between the dog poop and the chocolate). I’m reading some wonderful books about spirituality. I think it’s quite likely God is trying to get my attention.
If only I had some to spare.