Last night I put my phone on the kitchen table and went upstairs with my daughter. We both plopped down on her flowery quilt and talked. We talked about the cutest boys in the 2nd grade, the soggy pizza calzone that they served in the cafeteria yesterday, and then I told her about my adventures dodging motorized carts at the grocery store on Seniors' Day.
I heard my phone vibrating ferociously on the table. It's actually louder on vibrate than it is with my ringtone set to deafening decibels and blaring "Axel F" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.
I ignored the noise. I didn't care what text/email/social media alert waited for me there. I continued to talk with my little girl.
We played twelve games of Old Maid. She beat me at Uno three times. We read the funniest parts of her favorite Junie B. Jones book. We laughed out loud.
And then she asked if I would sleep in her bed so we could talk some more and I could tell her funny stories about the "olden days" (the 1980s).
Instead of coming up with some excuse to sleep in my own soft bed, I happily agreed. I know there will come a time when she'll be kicking me out of her room instead of inviting me to stay.
I left my phone on the table for nearly three hours -- which is a personal record, unless it is lost or I'm sleeping. It seems that I'm always connected to the world through my phone. As soon as I'm done eating dinner, I reach for it. As the DVR fast forwards through commercials, I reach for it. As I listen to my daughter, I don't hesitate to mentally leave our conversation and pick it up when it rattles to let me know that someone from the outside world needs my attention.
But last night, I ignored it when I heard it tumbling around on the kitchen table. I really listened to my little girl's stories, and I watched her laugh until tears welled up in her eyes when I told her about the time I gracefully plowed through a fence on a Pogo ball. The phone could wait.
As she was lying close to me in the bed and I ran my fingers through her long blonde hair, she yawned and said, "I had a good time with you tonight, Mama."
She needed my attention more than any email, text or Facebook notification.
And I needed her more than any of those things, too.
This post was originally published on Whoa! Susannah