My present focus is Family, and I simply decided to try to give more affection, attention and patience to all the members of my family. So far I think it has worked well. I am a person who likes being physical with my nearest and dearest – giving hugs, kisses and gentle strokes – so perhaps there wasn’t very much to change there, but I have thought about it more consciously than otherwise, and – hopefully – given even more love than I usually do.
I have also tried to listen more attentively to my family members when they talk to me. There I certainly have something to work on. With three small kids in the house (often all of them craving my attention at the same time) and a job without clear boundaries (right now I’m in the process of finishing my latest book and sometimes I steal a few minutes to write a few sentences even though my kids are swarming around me…), it is sometimes difficult to have 100% focus on one person.
One way of giving attention is to find ways of being alone with one child at a time. A few days ago, my husband and I had a lovely moment with our ten-year-old. Our dishwasher is out of order at the moment, so we have to do the dishes by hand. The three of us took care of a huge pile of dishes; we had just had a big Sunday lunch with all the four kids, Miranda’s boyfriend and our youngest daughter’s friend. Our ten-year-old, who typically tries to sneak away as soon as someone wants her to help out with something, really enjoyed the work, since she had both her parents’ full attention for more than an hour! This year we have decided to give our kids time away with their parents, one at a time, as Christmas gifts. That’s one way of showing love, and I’m quite sure they will enjoy it tremendously.
Last week was a challenge for the whole family, but especially for my kids at home. I was away working in another city from Sunday to Friday, enjoyed comfortable hotel beds, good food and the opportunity to work as much as I possibly could, without having to take care of anything but myself. My husband took care of everything at home, kids, dishes, laundry, food – which he is used to, since I’ve been working away from home every now and then for ages. Every night, the wonderful program Skype enabled us to share the day’s events, feelings, creativity, laughs and some tears via Skype. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and it was wonderful to come home on Friday evening.
Love can take different shapes – hugging, doing the dishes and skyping. Love at home and love at a distance.