One of the things I had no idea I would miss when becoming a parent was the ability to have an uninterrupted conversation. I’m not blaming my son for this; it is because I am completely and totally unable to divide my attention between two things. While my son is around, I can not fully focus on a conversation, because I am always checking on him out of the corner of my eye, or now that he’s older, listening for crashes (or worse, total silence) from the next room. This means that I can never give my full attention to someone in conversation like they deserve. I miss that. I love one-on-one conversations, and they are the social situation in which I feel most comfortable.
That is why my dinner with my mother last night was so wonderful. I don’t know when the last time was that I had the chance to sit down with her alone. Two hours. No interruptions. I was able to truly focus just on her and what she had to say. No rush, no distractions, no technology. It was refreshing and relaxing.
How can I be more present in conversations? Everyone loves to be truly listened to. In fact, I tell my students at the beginning of every year how they can give a gift to everyone they meet just by listening to them. Do as I say, not as I do, I suppose. I don’t want to have to apologize to everyone that I can’t give them my full attention. They deserve my focus, not excuses. It’s a goal worthy of my effort. While I work on that, I am thankful today that I got that opportunity to share a couple of uninterrupted hours with my mother. We should do that again sometime!