• Carly Rae

Smelling the Roses

“Look at me! I can climb like a real monkey!” My four-year-old Cleo shouts with great enthusiasm hanging from the monkey bars at the local playground.

Despite falling many times, she repeats her new-found skill over and over again with the same gusto that she started with. As I cheer her on from the sidelines, I notice how fully engaged she is in the activity. She acts as if she has all the time in the world to conquer it.

Once she has mastered the monkey bars, she races over to the swings. They have always been my three girls’ favourite play equipment. When Cleo jumps onto the seat she starts vigorously pumping her little, tanned legs to swing higher and higher. Her face is flushed with joy.

Suddenly we are interrupted by my 6-year-old, Lucy.

“Mum, a little girl just fell off the monkey bars and is crying and bleeding, but her parents aren’t around to help her!”

I look over and see my oldest child Eva, consoling the little girl with her arm around her shoulder.

“Where is her mum?” Eva asks her in a stressed tone as Lucy, Cleo and I approach them.

“There she is!” Cleo excitedly replies. “Over there on the bench!”

The mother of the little girl hasn’t even noticed what has happened because her nose is buried in her I-Phone. It takes a few seconds to get her attention, but when we do, I immediately see guilt in her eyes. To be fair, I am also been guilty of checking my phone while my children needed my attention.

Growing up living in the country, surrounded by nature, before mobile phones and computers were in our homes, provided me with an infinite amount of time to just smell the roses.

Looking back, I am reminded that children have this innate ability to live in the “present”. If only we could retain this state of being as parents, to fully connect with our kids. I must admit that when I was watching Cleo in the playground my mind was clouded over with thoughts of what I would cook for dinner and the stressful conversation I had earlier with my husband about buying a house. Ironically, watching her ability to “be in the moment” made me realise that I was hardly ever in the moment!

Maybe it’s time to start lifting our noses away from our I-Phones and to start smelling the roses instead.

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