Spending time with my family has some bitter sweet moments. Today I escorted my eldest son back to the airport in order to catch his plane back to Brisbane for the next term of school. He is such a delightful and interesting boy (really he's a young man, but he's my baby still) and two weeks NEVER seems enough time to spend in his company. Today I really clearly remembered how important 'quality time' is for me and for my family.
Let me define quality time a little more. To me, spending quality time with my friends and family does not mean that we are sitting or being in the same space, nor that we do things side by side. Quality time, for me, means that we are doing things TOGETHER, no just existing in the same space and time. That we are communicating about things we share, we are having conversations, not just talking at each other or informing each other about information. It means that we are compromising and choosing to engage in activities specific to the interest of the other. For example, if given the chance to do whatever I wanted with no restrictions, I can guarantee you in wouldn't be lying on the floor for a couple of hours drawing a city on a large piece of paper to play cars with my three year old, nor would it be spending a few hours on the beach side watching the kids swim for the afternoon. These things are not my idea of the "perfect" afternoon. Nor is it their favourite pass time to plant things in the garden, go bush walking or stroll through an art gallery. But we do all of these things together because we wish to spend time with each other.
A note about this though, I would not be happy or have an enjoyable afternoon on the floor drawing and playing cards if I did not completely embrace the time I was spending with my youngest child and delight in the joy it gave him to spend this one on one time with me. If I chose to spend this time thinking of all of the other things I could/would/should be doing or wishing it was over, then this would not be in the spirit of quality time.
This time, whether you are talking about spending time with your children, your partner, your extended family or your friends and colleagues, teaches us so many things as well as bringing delight to the lives of others. Playing with my three year old helps me understand patience, unconditional love, adventure and imagination as well as how he sees the world around him. Spending time with my teenager helps to build a strong rapport with him, know and understand him, to see what he sees and how he feels and interprets the world. It also helps me to understand a lot about my own spirituality by seeing some aspects of it reflected in his actions yet with his own interpretation.
Spending quality time doing things with someone you are close to does one of the most comforting things I can think of; it shows us how we are alike, and, that we are not alone in the world. It is through knowing how much we are the same and through building relationships that have meaning and depth that we are really able to spread love and light energy through this beautiful world of ours.
With love and light