Fully present

Thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts. I rebounded pretty well from chemo and am up and about! Thank you for being there for me.

This past weekend, I was scheduled to lector at church, meaning that, among other things, I would stand in front of the church and read two of the readings aloud. In the days beforehand, I practiced in front of the kids as they played with their iPads.

On Sunday morning, I told them that it was time to go to church and they gave their usual protests. Generally, I ignore these protests because they really have no choice but today I told them, “Hey, when you are doing something special, I do my best to be there. I would love for you to be there for me today.”

In truth, when they are doing something special, I am often physically present but don’t always pay full attention. I check my phone. I talk with other parents. I craft a grocery list in my head. I try to be there, but I wander.

And I understand how long a Mass can feel when you are a child. So I told the boys that they could bring paper and pencils to church to draw or write but they had to come along.

After a stop on the way for croissants, we arrived early enough to get seats in the front pew on the side of the church. Mass began and the boys alternated between drawing and fighting. I tuned them out.

When it was my turn, I walked to the front of the church and read. I alternated between looking down at the text and up at the faces in the pews. The church was packed so there were many faces to see.

I hesitated to look directly at my boys, for fear of getting distracted. But today, when I glanced at that section of the church, I was struck by my very blonde eight-year-old son in our front pew, standing on the kneeler to get a better view. He was clearly fully focused on me and I could feel him using all his senses to watch and listen.

He stood like this through both my readings, completely attentive. After the second reading, when I rejoined him in our seats, he said simply, “Good job, Mom.”

I had forgotten the positive power of receiving the full attention of one person supporting your efforts, especially from someone you love. When I took him to tennis later that day, I was fully present and watched him play from the window above. And from the court below, he looked up at me and smiled.

May you experience the honor of being fully present for someone else today, and the joy of knowing that someone is fully present for you.