Before Reindeer was born, one it the things I promised myself was that I would always make sure he had my attention. No matter how tired or unwell or desperate to do something else I might be, I would put him first.
It hasn’t been easy – many evenings I have been pretty unresponsive to family and friends because, as an introvert, I’ve been on my mental knees after a whole day of focusing my attention on, and socialising with, Reindeer.
It has nothing to do with not loving him enough or of not finding him interesting. On the contrary, I love him more than I’d ever imagined possible and find myself fascinated by him; his developing personality, skills and interests are a constant source of wonder and enjoyment. It is just that I need my head to myself sometimes (for want of a better description).
And that is why I’m disappointed today. Because, for the first time, I broke that promise to myself. I allowed Reindeer to play on his mat next to me whilst I used the laptop to try and keep up with a situation outside the home. It was a very unusual and difficult time for friends and I was trying to ‘be there’ from a distance. But now I feel unhappy for Reindeer. I’m not even sure he really noticed, so engrossed was he in his play, but I know and it is making me sad.
Rationally I know that he will not always be able to have the amount of attention I want to give him, as life happens. And today was a classic example of that. Although knowing it doesn’t really make it easier to avoid the parental guilt which is lurking in the background, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Perhaps that’s a good thing though, since I don’t want to become complacent.