I’ve discussed my love for all things Oprah at length here on The Woven Moments (here and here and here and here). I’m sad that the show is ending this week but I’m comforted that my beloved “O” magazine will continue to arrive monthly.
As the show winds down, Oprah has been reliving some of her most memorable moments and she touched on one that has stayed with me ever since I first saw it back in the fall of 2000.
The show featured Toni Morrison (one of my favorite American authors) discussing her book du jour. But the thing that stuck with me was her wisdom about acknowledging loved ones,
When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up.
You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what’s in your heart…because when they walked in the room, I was glad to see them.
It’s just as small as that, you see.
(More on this show here: Oprah’s greatest lessons)
Even though I wasn’t a parent at the time, these words stuck with me. Back then, I incorporated into my budding relationship with B by being sure to smile whenever he walked in the room. I embraced the concept with my students and made sure I was standing at the door, looking each one in the eye and smiling as they filed in for the day.
As a parent to one child, it was easier. Whenever Peanut walked (or crawled or toddled) into the room, I stopped what I was doing and said, “Look who’s here!” or something equally as inviting.
I still do it when picking up my kids from school/day care. Nothing quite beats the feeling of seeing your child’s face break into a grin when they see you come around the corner. Pumpkin does a full on dance, hopping from one foot to the other until I can scoop her up. It’s priceless.
But there are other moments when I don’t succeed. Moments when I’m engrossed in a book, the computer, a phone call. Moments when I’m busy being something other than super mom.
I hate admitting that these moments exist.
I wish I could say that every single time Peanut shows me a pencil drawing or trinket sculpture that I drop what I’m doing and marvel at her work. I wish I couldn’t tell you that Pumpkin gets my undivided attention every time she yells MAMA! from the other room.
Because every moment is a woven moment; each one is a tangle of personal motivation and parental/marital responsibility. Some moments I prioritize well, some I don’t.
I believe that my words will help set the tone for my children’s own self-talk. So what I tell Peanut about herself today will eventually help form what she believes about herself in the future.
And if actions speak louder than words, then my facial expression could mean even more.
The show is a great reminder to check myself and make sure I’m wearing on my face what I feel in my heart; that every moment with my girls is a gift.
THIS is the face I want my kids to see, at least once, every day: