Since losing our only child in 2013, my husband and I have really taken notice of families not paying attention to each other; either distracted by activities, books, electronics, or cell phones, yet spending lots of time and money going out to dinner or traveling to amazing places, only to find themselves still "connected" to everyone other than their children.
That being said, it's become our mission to remind parents and kids alike to cherish each moment. I'm sure you've heard that a lot, right?
Focus on the important things.
Do those words really mean anything to anyone anymore? I'd venture to guess they don't, so I'll share a couple scenarios with you instead...
The first one took place March 16, 2016, just 15 months after we'd lost our son. I walked in to our favorite wing restaurant to get our typical Wednesday night dinner and, while I was standing in line, I saw a family sitting at a table together wasting away their valuable time; everyone staring at their phones, instead of focusing on each other. I waited 22 minutes for our order to be cooked, and for the entire 22 minutes, each one of them ate their dinner and stared at their phones without a single word or any eye contact.
As you can imagine, I was a blubbering mess by the time our take-out order was complete. Once I gained some composure, I decided to buy them dessert and write them a quick note along with sharing two of our son's Pay It Forward cards. In the note, I explained to them that I would give ANYTHING for one more dinner or dessert with my angel, and to please not waste another moment of their precious family time on their phones. I didn't hang around to see how they reacted, but I do hope it stirred up some emotions in them and changed the way they eat dinner together now.
Another incident took place while we were in Riviera Maya, Mexico. It was the night of Dalton's 2nd Anniversary in Heaven. We decided to get some dinner at a nice restaurant near the beach, hoping it would allow us some escape from our reality of life without Dalton. As we waited for our drinks, we noticed a family of three sitting at the table beside us; Mom, Dad, and Daughter (about 12 or 13 years old). The mom and dad were each on their phones and the daughter was just sitting there staring at both of them, silently begging them to pay attention to her. They put their phones down just long enough to glance at the menu, choose an entrée, and pick up their phones again. After their dinner came and they all ate in silence, the mom looked away from her phone just long enough to say to the daughter, "You can order dessert, if you want to." After finishing her silent dinner, the daughter flagged the waiter down, ordered dessert, all with zero conversation in the company of her distracted parents. The entire time, we're thinking, "How in the world could our son have been taken away from us and these parents couldn't care less that they had their own daughter sitting right in front of them for an entire meal?!?!?!" It was maddening, to say the least.
I can't tell you how many times we see this, sometimes even with our own extended family, and it literally makes us sick to our stomachs. PLEASE PUT YOUR PHONES AWAY DURING MEALS. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, is as important as those few moments you have with your children. Whatever is on your phone can wait. Have a conversation, tell a corny joke, play a game, laugh a little; anything that includes interacting with each other.
Our last meal with Dalton was about 13 hours before he died. We all sat around a campfire eating steak with all the fixin's, each of us sharing what we were thankful for at that moment. Sounds kinda cheesy, right? Maybe it is, but we are incredibly thankful that dinner was spent talking and laughing, rather than being distracted by our phones.
Please, please, please...
Do it for us, do it for Dalton, please do it for your family.
You never know when those little moments
might be the last ones you ever have♡♡♡.
Submitted by Roni Wing Lambrecht, Speaker and Author of three books available at www.ParentingAtYourBestWithoutRegrets.com:
Parenting at Your Best; Powerful Reflections and Straightforward Tips for Becoming a Mindful Parent
A Parent's Guide for Journaling to Their Child; Simple Strategies for Writing Heartfelt Love Letters to Your Child
A Parent's Journal to Their Child; With Simple Strategies for Writing Heartfelt Love Letters to Your Child