My eyes were set on the palm-sized screen in front of me. I scrolled through posts of what strangers were cooking in their slow cookers and acquaintances were doing on their holidays. I read scores of articles reporting the passing away of entertainer Robbin Williams and noted the sudden rise in people wanting to discuss mental health. As I floated through the virtual world inside the Internet, I quickly left behind the real world I was in.
A moment ago, she was playing a few feet away from where I was sitting. Suddenly, there she was at the foot of the couch. She placed her elephant on my lap and her bubble maker. Then she put out her hand for my mobile phone.
No words. Just those actions. It stunned me. I had never felt so ashamed in my life before! I was consumed with a rush of self-reproach. Twenty-four hours later, I still could not get over it.
It is amazing how a one year old put things into perspective for me, without saying a single word. With those actions, she taught me a whole gamut of lessons. She was neither upset nor angry with me for ignoring her. She wanted attention and she asked for it quietly. Her actions were kind, filled with love and giving. She wanted to trade her precious toys with me, for the device that took my eyes away from her. In that young mind of hers, she knew that I was not there and dragged me back into her world, so gently.
I have lost count of the number of times I have yelled at her, been upset and angry for not eating or sleeping. Some of those times, she had been going through distress that she was unable to express. When I made her cry, I convinced myself that I had her best interests in mind. I am wracked with guilt but also proud of her actions. I am thrilled at the idea that this one is going to be a good human being.