Parents' Time Balance gives Children Seeking Attention a Moment of Happiness

It was both joyful and painful to spend another bonding moment with my nephew. At 5:45pm, he arrived exhausted from school and ready to change from his filthy uniform to some comfy clothes. Then I asked him a question that most kids his age would dread answering: “Did you understand the story you read last night?” 
Children nowadays are very clever in hiding the truth, and it took me awhile to squeeze the truth out of him because he kept on saying that it is about a rock hitting the Earth and that we should be prepared. As expected, though I literally crossed my fingers wishing I was wrong, he did not understand any of it. I knew he was lying because that “rock hitting the Earth” thing was almost the same story from the one I just told him just the other day.

I wanted to train him how to be honest enough to admit something, like not understanding a story for example. I need his honesty so I can help explain the things that he consider incomprehensible. So after lecturing him, we started chatting about different things. He brought his Transformers sketch pad out and began drawing stuff. I was still recuperating from a fever I got over the weekend, when he showed me a board game design he made. It looked like a boa constrictor to me but still cute. He invited me to play it with him some other time, and I said “sure!” Then after a few minutes, with his usual irresistibly kind tone, he asked me the things that I love so that he would draw it for me. I deliberately spoke too fast to tease him so that he could not remember a thing I just said. I laughed aloud when he luckily got two out of eight. I repeated my list and added a few more. The page got occupied with a star, smiley, angel, camera, hot air balloon, a beach, pick-up truck, ictus, peace sign, starfish, and a music staff with notes.  He entitled his design as “The New Beach of Tita Sweet” I LOVE IT!!!

"The New Beach of Tita Sweet"

I suddenly remembered one of my BIG dreams - to have my own beach resort – for it is the beach where I feel most at peace. The sound of the waves, the breeze of the wind, and the things that nature constantly do to remind me of how blessed we are with the wonder and beauty of God’s creations. Then I looked into the altar by the corner of our room and gave Him a quick “Thank you”.

It’s now my time to return the favor. I asked my nephew the things he loves. He answered PSP, school, parachute, “Back to the Future” car, him on a Ben 10 jacket, and a lot more. While doing the drawings, he asked me a variety of questions; what makes me sad, why I turned on the music player while we’re talking, why some songs are filled with foul language, and more.

Oanix Utopia

We learned a lot from each other during this question and answer portion. When I told him that music makes me happy when I’m sad, he told me that he thinks I don’t need music anymore because I am a happy person. I was glad he sees me like that, coz if that’s the case; I knew that he would trust me and enjoy my company more. It was so nice to hear straight from the kid what he thinks about me.

I love seeing kids’ drawings because they are usually raw, honest, happy, colorful, and free.  Since my nephew drew something especially for me, I took the liberty to immortalize it by taking a picture of it and using it as my phone’s wallpaper.

Now, you may be wondering which part of this story is painful.  

The answer is I know that despite his gladness that I am there for him, and despite the happy moment we are sharing, I can sense his loneliness in his eyes. He is seeking more – love, attention, care, and time. His eyes betrayed him during the times I caught him throwing blank stares at the walls of my room. When I asked him “why” and “what’s the matter?” he just answered “nothing”.

When he was drawing “my beach”, I asked him what the table set is for. He said that it was just like the ones from the beach in Davao where he went with his mom and dad. When the music played Piolo Pascual’s One More Chance, he immediately claimed that it is one of the songs that his dad loves to sing, just like Gary Valenciano’s Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin.

Well then, time flies when you’re having fun. We didn’t realize that it’s 8:00pm already, that it took us two hours just drawing, talking, singing, and laughing. We ate dinner afterwards, and then let him read a page of a story. I taught him a few of my secrets on how to easily comprehend a story. Then we bid our good nights, and he thanked me for the time. It melted my heart. 

Before I sleep, I tried to recollect what happened on that moment with my nephew. Well, I cannot blame him for feeling lonely at times. He himself told me time and again that he missed his mom and dad. His dad is working as an engineer in the Middle East. His mom works far from home, boards a house and sees him once or twice every week or two. His parents are truly hard-working and surely they want what is best for their son. But I still feel for him. I knew, just like most of the times I am with my nephew, that I could only do so much and could never replace or fulfill what his parents could do for him. Parents’ love is different from aunt love.

photo by BuckDaddy

photo by mikebaird

I pray that parents learn more how to balance their time and give more priority to kids than jobs. I admire those who give at least one day of their week dedicated to their kids. Simply reading their favorite book at night, eating dinner together, playing together, laughing at the simplest things together, or anything done together during quality time, will certainly matter to a kid. It will definitely impact your kids’ self-esteem, emotional stability, and happiness. It matters to these kids that they are to be given valuable time and that they are not a hindrance to parents’ careers.

Sweet Says … I know that it’s hard for parents to be away from their kids. But I also know that if you value your kids more than earning more money for them, you will be giving them a brighter future because of that lovely feeling that they are important to you. Their sense of security and a set of good values practically come from the guidance they receive from you and definitely not from the expensive and colorful toys bought for them. Why do I know this? Because my parents did it to me. Now that I am still single, I am doing everything I can to earn more and create passive income, so that by the time I have my own kids, I will have more time for them. Nothing is more valuable to a child than your attention, love, and time.

[O-CHRONICLES: 6.27.11]

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