Saturday, my boys and I spent time at Newfields (formerly known as the IMA). The first Saturday of the month, Newfields has the Cereal Cinema where you can watch a family friendly film while enjoying a bowl of cereal. This past Saturday, my boys and I watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Admittedly, I was more excited than my boys. This was my childhood. I enjoyed waking up each Saturday morning and watching Winnie the Pooh to kick off my Saturday morning cartoon binge. My boys had not seen Winnie the Pooh before and was disappointed when they realized this was a movie about a hunny (as spelled in the movie) obsessed bear and not an action cartoon. JB said, “This will probably be boring; how long is this movie?”
Once the movie began, I heard my boys cracking up laughing at the mishaps of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh, and the other characters in the Hundred Acre Wood. This is when I realized I hadn’t finished my online grocery shopping. My husband and I have been using Kroger ClickList for a couple of months. I hadn’t finished putting every item into the cart. I knew our food supply was low. I pulled out my phone and started shopping. Ten minutes later, JB nudged my arm and said, “Mommy, did you see that?” I replied, “What?” JB crossed his arms and said, “Never mind; you’re not even paying attention.”
The whole point of taking my boys to Cereal Cinema was to spend quality time with them on my own. My husband had to work this Saturday and I thought this would be the perfect time for bonding. I put my phone away and decided I was going to stay off of my phone, be in the moment, and only pull it out to take a few pictures. Once the movie ended, we stayed at Newfields to participate in Family Day: International Day of Flowers. We stopped at different stations, but my boys were not interested in having their picture taken in front of a wall of flowers, making a flower coronet, or most of the other activities. I was getting frustrated because this wonderful bonding wasn’t going well. My boys have some different interests than me, so I have tried to be intentional about spending time with them to grow closer because I felt like we have been drifting in different directions lately.
Since they didn’t like the last few stations we walked by, I wasn’t even going to stop by the next one, until JJ told me to stop. It was a DIY Essential Oil Mixing station. He recognized the basil leaves on the table because we grow basil. We went to the station and we all made a small essential oil mix. JJ’s was just basil and James and I mixed basil, orange, and lavender in our bottles. Then, we went upstairs to watch Indy Hula perform. After that, they were hungry and we ate in the cafe. Since they didn’t seem interested in the activities, I was going to take them home after lunch. Once JB realized this he said, “Mom, I don’t want to go back yet. Can’t we just walk around outside with you?”
That’s when I realized it was not about the activities. Even though some of their current interests are not the same as my interests, all they wanted was my undivided attention while walking the Newfields grounds. We walked to the greenhouse and discussed the plants that were growing and our favorites. We walked by the Lilly House which spurred an interesting conversation about where my boys would live as adults in the future. They both said they would live together. JJ wants to live in an apartment because he wants to meet all the people who live there. JB wants two houses, one that’s small and one that’s big and one of those houses would be close to people and the other house would be away from people. Of course, I asked the obvious question, “How are you two going to live together as adults if JJ wants to live in an apartment and JB wants to live in a house?” JB told me, “JJ is just going to live with me in our two houses.” JJ said, “Well, JB can live with me in the apartment.” They are just seven now, so they will have years to think this over. I even threw out this crazy idea that they might not even want to live together as adults which sent them into hysterical laughter.
We talked about so many other topics. When I arrived home, I asked them what they liked most about the day and they both told me they liked walking and talking with me. I wasted so much time trying to find a fun family activity for us that I missed what they really wanted and needed. They needed me off of my phone and focused on them and their ideas whether they were my interests or not. I leave you with this: Plan less and be there more.