I really need an extra pair of ears, or bigger brain storage capacity. I've always imagined myself to be that mom who eagerly and enthusiastically gives her little storytellers 150% of her attention, with sincere and joyful pleasure. They muddle through a VERY LONG dialogue of how the slug made his way across the stone, then onto the leaf, then what it looked like...wait...child is distracted from his story by his sister's application of band-aid to her knee. Ok...she's done...back to the BEGINNING of the slug story. Across the stone...onto the leaf...meanwhile, I have dinner beginning to burn, the phone is ringing and the dog is headed for the road. People say "Just prioritise", well which one, pray-tell, is the priority?? Forget the phone (Not too hard for me), love my dog, rescue dinner but to ask that little, creative storyteller to hold that slug thought is SO hard to do!
Kids know when you are not truly interested in what they are saying. I find myself doing the plastic smile/airline stewardess voice thing far too often. I really don't want to, but burn dinner? Let the dog die? Pee my pants? Miss that free cruise telephone offer? Come on! The kids will surely understand!? I have learned that kids are pretty good at pressing the "hold" button for me. Save the dog and dinner, then return to the "edge of my seat" slug story. Even if I'm not fully captivated by the slug, my smile becomes sincere as I soak up the beauty of my child's vivacious face.
My grandmother Hanson did this to me once. I went to visit her in her nursing home one day in my WAY younger years. I was retelling what I thought was an interesting event, that she would enjoy, when out of the blue (no seniors' hair color pun intended) she says, "Wow, your hair has the most beautiful auburn color when the sun shines on it." She didn't hear a word I said, but she took the moment to enjoy her grandchild and express her love in genuine way. It didn't bother me a bit. I felt loved and appreciated regardless of my story's significance. So, I stroke my sweetheart's hair, gaze on his sun kissed freckles and enjoy the wonder in his eyes as he continues the verbal saga...the slug doesn't really matter...my sincerity does.
All the ginkgo biloba in the world can't help my limited mental efficiency, but lessons from grandmothers help rescue little hearts from my limitations.
By the way, in case you were wondering how his story ends...the slug does NOT live. What else would you expect from an 8 year old boy?? :)