I remember certain summer days during my childhood in which my brothers and I, all out of ideas of what to do next, would complain to my mother that we were officially bored.
I don’t remember getting much sympathy.
It’s been a long time since I was really bored. I love what I do, and there’s always an impossibly long list of things that need to be done. And, frankly, it’s kind of hard to be bored in our “always on” society awash in laptops and smart phones and iPods.
Well, sometimes I’m bored when I’m with Lucy.
I get to spend two hours each afternoon with her — just the two of us. I look forward to it, especially if I haven’t seen her much during the day. I love her to death, and I love spending time with her. I could spend hours just looking at her. But five-month-olds don’t do much. The little games we come up with are just as much for my entertainment as hers.
Sometimes my thoughts drift off to other more “productive” things I could be doing. I’ve noticed that left unchecked, life tends to accelerate. Being forced to slow down is a good thing, even if I don’t like it at the time. For one, it’s a great opportunity to collect my thoughts. And it’s nice just to watch her cute little mannerisms, marvel at her little toes and fingers, and whisper sweet nothings in her ear, as God whispers in mine.
One of my favorite things to do with her is just sit. It could be chilling out on the rocking chair, or outside on the tree stump in the backyard. There is something peaceful about that. For me, and I think for her as well.
Sometimes I feel guilty for wishing that I could keep working (to get things checked off my list) and sometimes I worry that I’ll regret feeling this way when she’s older. But I also sometimes feel like I’m being a bad dad (or maybe just not a great one), because I’m not engaging her more, teaching her more, or coming up with and endless array of things to do with her. I only get two uninterrupted hours with her a day, shouldn’t I want to do more than just sit with her? But the doing nothing is actually…nice.
Back when I was a kid, the boredom that set in during summer vacation was never welcome. But it offered a much-needed break and always resulted in an exciting new initiative. Boredom was actually good thing.
So yes, sometimes I’m bored with Lucy.
The thing is, I like being bored with her.
It might be the best thing for the both of us.
I challenge you to try powering down your computer and turing off your cell phone for a couple of hours today. Do nothing. At all. A little boredom might just be the best thing for you as well.
My favorite part of the day when my oldest was a toddler, was right after work when the two of us would sit on the sofa, him with his bottle, and we’d watch Family Feud. That half hour was just the right amount of wind-down time for both of us; him coming from daycare and me from work. Even though my husband teased that the kid would think Richard Dawson was his father, I really enjoyed that mindless close time.
Survey says, “Great comment!” What a cute image I have of the two of you sitting there vegging out.