I still remember the day I was sitting down on the couch talking on the phone to an old college friend while my husband and our two year old son were at the library. I had about an hour and a half to myself – a total luxury.
We had been talking for about 10 minutes when my son walked in the door. “Mama?!” he shouted with excitement as he looked for me, found me, and ran into my arms. I said to my dear friend, “Hold on a second.”
“Hi, my Love!!!” looking at our two year old, I gave him a big hug and kiss. I felt the excitement of seeing him surge through my body, even though it had just been an hour. Then, he ran off to help dad bring the library books inside. I turned back to my friend on the phone. “Lisa,” he said, “That is so great how you greet him. Every kid needs that. My mom never gave me such warmth, such acknowledgment. She never sounded excited like you just did.”
I sat there on the phone – speechless. He was right. Every kiddo wants to be acknowledged. Every kiddo wants to see their parents excited to see them and full of love. I vowed to myself that I would always, always acknowledge my kiddos, no matter what I was doing, when they walked through the door.
Last week on Facebook, Rachel Macy Stafford wrote eloquently about taking time to pause and let her love shine in her children’s hearts so they know and feel how much she loves them. Tomorrow a new school year starts for us. This past week, I found myself making glorious plans about how I want this year to go:
“I want to be more organized.”
“I want to have a place for all the school papers.”
“I want to volunteer for a few more things.”
“I want to continue to make sure they have good stuff for their lunches.”
“I want a schedule for when we make our grocery list and what day we go shopping.”
And while these things are part of caring for our dear ones, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all that needs to be done and lose sight of what’s most important.
What’s most important? Connection. Connecting with our dear ones in compassionate ways.
Tonight, I was walking upstairs with my kiddos to get ready for bed and our big day tomorrow. I was thinking about my “resolutions” that have been motivating me in this past week, occupying some of my time. But then I looked at my son. I turned my attention to his eyes and how he was telling me how excited he was for a new year. I paused and I looked at him with such love. I watched him brush his teeth. I watched him as we read a story. I turned out the light, and I soaked up the moment of feeling his hand against my heart and one leg flopped over mine. Soon, he drifted off to sleep.
I laid there listening to him breathe. “Love Looks,” I thought, “that’s what Brian and I do.”
Love Looks are these little moments of pausing throughout the day and seeing our kiddos and each other with eyes of compassion. Love Looks. Little doses. Little moments of saying, “I see you” and “You matter.” Little moments when we pause, slow down and acknowledge the holy right here in the midst of prepping lunches for the next day, picking up our kiddos in the carline, getting breakfast on the table, and getting organized.
My friend was right. I am good at this. While I’m totally human and that means “perfectly imperfect,” I’m good at pausing and giving my children Love Looks. While it is on my “to do” list to go to Ikea and get that one shelf for our kitchen so we can finally have a place for school papers, I’m recognizing that I do enough. My kiddos may not care or remember how organized I was. They will remember these little moments of me pausing and SEEING them. These moments are what fill a little one’s sense of self slowly, in little doses, over time.
Tonight, as I was getting ready for bed, I paused and looked in the mirror. “Love Looks,” I thought, “God, I could use some Love Looks, too.” Little doses of pausing and looking at myself with compassion. Little moments of being kind to myself, looking at myself, and seeing the holy right here within me, too.
This is what matters in this moment. This is what matters most this year.
Dear ones, as we start this new school year, let’s focus on compassion. Let’s focus on little Love Looks – with our children, with our partners, with our friends, and with ourselves. So many of us parents are so busy caring for others that we forget to care for ourselves. Let’s let the critic rest for a bit this fall. Let’s look with eyes of compassion.
Blessings of Love Looks,
Lisa A. McCrohan
MA, LCSW-C, RYT
** Friends, thank you for all your lovely comments — here, on Facebook, and in emails. It’s a delight to know that something here resonates with you and inspires you. I write from a movement within me, a calling, to inspire this world to live with more delight, compassion, and connection in our everyday lives – however that may look for each of us. Visit the Barefoot Barn for more information or contact me about mindful coaching, psychotherapy, workshops and retreats.