Putting my daughter Lucia to bed last night I was reminded of the importance of paying attention to the transitions with her.
It was late, I was tagging in after Mommy’s turn and I had school work to do before the end of the evening so was more rushed than usual to “get her down” (what a funny thing to say, but we say it). I was distracted and a little rushed and she felt it and was anxious about my leaving. The sweet things I was doing, like a goodnight kiss, or hug, felt to her like the not like quality time, but as pre-ambles to my departure. “One more snuggle Daddy! Don’t go!”
She had me wrapped up and wouldn’t let me go (she’s been doing jiu jitsu and has a really strong grip btw).
Its funny, she was holding me, but I could tell she wasn’t actually FEELING ME with her body, she was just holding on against the fear my anticipated departure.
In that moment, rather than pulling away and just letting her deal with it, I told her what I was noticing. I mentioned that she was so worried about me leaving that she wasn’t noticing that her arms were around me in that moment. I directed her attention to notice what was happening in present time. To FEEL her arms around me and my arms around her. I told her to let herself squeeze me as much as she wanted and I just relaxed myself into the moment. She took a deep breath, sighed again, and was asleep in a minute.
It doesn’t always work that way, but sometimes slowing down those times is the best way to go fast.