Your Presence is a Present


By Amy Cheney

I’m really good at falling into holes. Seriously, that’s my Minecraft superpower! I land under the ground and can’t find my way out, and my boys have to rescue me.

“I’m coming, Mom! Stay right there!” And with a big grin on his face, one of them comes to dig me out.

Silliness, for sure. But it is silliness of the best kind, as we sit in the same room, with devices in hand that could easily be divisive and isolating. Instead, because I let work wait a little while and connect with them in both a literal and figurative way, we have time for laughter and collaboration and fun.

One of the biggest myths of our generation is that technology was going to make work more efficient, and give us more time to concentrate on things (and people) that really mattered. Instead, we focus on capturing moments in pictures rather than being present in them, on checking email or Facebook feeds because we are expected to be readily available to the grown-ups in our lives.

And as that happens, meaningful presence – that time spent with those little people we love wholeheartedly – becomes a casualty of all those adult things which consume our time and attention.

That truth can be particularly evident at this time of year. Shopping for gifts, planning for and attending events, working out travel arrangements – tending to the details of the season can leave us even more strapped for time than normal. And gifts are an issue in and of themselves – lists are made, focus is placed on the material side of the holidays. Parents work hard to choose those things which will make their kids light up with happiness.

That said, these words from author Kate Klise ring true: “During the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that sometimes the best gift of all is simply the gift of time.”

So perhaps it is an appropriate time of year to refocus our attention on doing just that: worry less about the ‘things’ that can bring them joy, and remember that the gift of a parent’s time is unique and extraordinary. A child may be excited by a new fidget spinner, but when older, that will likely not be recalled – it will be those times that we devoted our time, focus, and attention that will be remembered.


How then do we do that, in ways that are simple and fulfilling? Perhaps things like:

  • Planning game nights (my kids claim they don’t like board games, but can’t get enough once we get started!)
  • Involving them in holiday preparations – baking cookies, wrapping presents, maybe even making decorations for your home
  • Turning on holiday music, singing and dancing around the living room together
  • Doing small things for neighbors and friends – helping with leaf collection, leaving little surprise gifts on doorsteps.


In any case, it is particularly important at this time of year to prioritize the non-essential stuff in favor of things that matter. Whatever those things may be for you and your family, they will be the kinds of things from which memories derive.


Time to go fall into a virtual hole, so that my sons can feel the joy of being my heroes!



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