Editorials by Robert Kirwan

Nothing Is More Important Than Time Spent With Another Human Being…  
   The other day I was typing an article on my computer when I was interrupted by the sound of someone speaking a language which I must admit I am beginning to understand. It was my 15-month old granddaughter tugging at my shirt wanting me to play with her. I stopped what I was doing and immediately became immersed in a game of “take the cans out of the box and put the cans back inside the box”, all the while engaging in an intriguing mystical dialogue with this beautiful little human being.
   Even though I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her, I was also feeling a bit sad as I recalled times when I was too busy to put aside the things I was doing in the past to spend time with my own sons or my wife when they wanted my attention. How often in the past did I say that I was too busy to play or to talk or just to look at something that my own children wanted me to see.
   All of that changed many years ago when I came across the following story. We can simply call it “The Flower”.
   It was a particularly stressful day for Judy. She was late getting home from the office and had to finish preparing dinner so that she could rush off to her night class. Judy was at the stove when she felt a tug on her pant leg and could hear the voice of her little daughter, Jennifer. “Mommy. Mommy, look.”
   “Not now, honey. Mommy is too busy,” replied Judy without taking her eyes off of the pot on the stove.
   “But Mommy,” pleaded Jennifer.
   As Judy turned to go to the fridge, she almost tripped over Jennifer, and angrily pushed the little girl out of the way. “ I don’t have time, Jennifer. Go and play and stay out of the kitchen.”
   Later that night, Judy returned home from her night class and was straightening up the kitchen when she noticed something bright on the floor between the cupboard and the stove. She crouched down to pick it up and found a little flower taped to a piece of paper. On the paper were the words, “I Love You Mommy”. Jennifer crumpled to the floor and sat there with her back to the stove, crying for a full ten minutes. She realized that all her daughter wanted to do was give her this little expression of her love. All she wanted were a few seconds of her mother’s time. And all she got was an angry shove and some very harsh words. How awful she must have felt.
  After composing herself, Judy stood up, and went quietly to Jennifer’s room, where she say her beautiful little girl’s face on the pillow. Even though her daughter was fast asleep and it was very late, Judy knelt beside the bed and gently woke Jennifer up. As Jennifer opened her sleepy eyes and looked at her mother, Judy held up the flower and said, “Thank you for the flower, honey. It is the most beautiful gift I have every received.”
   Jennifer’s sleepy eyes widened and her face beamed with a smile that brightened up the dimly lit room as she replied happily, “I picked it just for you and wrote the note all by myself. I Love You, Mommy.” And with that Jennifer gave her mother a great big hug.
   As the tears began to flow, Judy crawled into bed beside her daughter and began to stroke her hair, “I promise, Jennifer. I will never again be too busy to spend time with you. I Love You, Jennifer.” Judy continued to hold her daughter tightly until she was once again sound asleep.
   After I read that simple little story I realized that there is nothing in life that is more important than spending quality time with other people, especially children who depend upon you for support and guidance. I truly believe that when another person, regardless of who they are or what their age, wants to speak to you or be with you, it is the greatest compliment you can receive. They are telling you that at this precise moment in time, you are the most important person in their life. You are the one they want to be with and the one they want to talk to. When another individual is going to place you in such high regard, how can you possibly not show respect and gratitude by giving that person the attention he or she is seeking?
   There are many days when my “paper work” piles up or when I have to put off cleaning up the yard. But ever since reading that story I am never too busy to drop what I am doing when a person calls on the phone, stops by to talk to me, or drops in for a visit. 

   So the next time someone interrupts what you are doing, before brushing him or her off, ask yourself if the thing you are doing can wait just a little while longer. You may just realize that what you are doing will still be there tomorrow, but those precious moments you have with that special person today will soon be gone forever.
Have a good week!

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