Last night after dinner, Henry wanted to go downstairs with me while I started laundry. So we went down, he started playing in the play area we set up for him, I went about doing laundry and cleaning up the area a bit. After I was done, I headed to the other side of the basement to see what he was up to. He was playing by himself, pulling out various toys, pushing cars across the floor, generally entertaining himself.
So I sat down in the rocking chair in his play area and watched for a couple minutes. Almost immediately I started feeling this twitch, this urge to do something with my hands. It's rare that I'm not multitasking - even if the other "task" is just playing on my phone, searching through emails and Facebook and Instagram to occupy myself. I had the urge to go back upstairs and retrieve my phone just so that I'd have something to do while he played.
And that's when I started to feel ridiculous. Why can't I just sit there and watch Henry play? Why can't I just enjoy the time without feeling like I need to be doing something else? What am I really missing out on by not having my phone in my hands at all times?
So instead I sat there and watched him play and play and play. He looked up a few times to see what I was up to, and I was so glad in that moment to NOT be on my phone - something that he sees far too often when he looks up at his Dad and I. I've been noticing it lately, that we're both on our phones (not for anything important, just to keep ourselves occupied) when he looks up. It makes me sad for him. It makes me sad for us. Why don't we just put down our phones and watch him learn and play and imagine? Why don't we just put down our phones and learn, play and imagine WITH him?
I watched a movie over the weekend called "Men, Women and Children" all about social media and the impact it's having on our lives. It was interesting to watch the ways that its taken over our lives with nearly everyone on their phones at all times. Information and occupation just a few finger taps away.
But what are we missing out on each time we pick up our phones instead of just stopping and enjoying peace and quiet? Or just enjoying the company that we're with? Or maybe getting outside and going for a walk, enjoying nature and sunshine?
I know for me, I might have emails to answer, and issues to work on and social media accounts to run. But do I have to do those right now? The answer is no. Me not picking up my phone for an hour or two will never result in life or death. But it might result in my son thinking that I'd rather be on my phone than on the floor playing with him.
I need an internet detox. I need to retrain myself that my fingers don't have to be moving at all times. I need to remember that it's okay to just be still and present and in the moment. I need to get on the floor and play.