When I was younger I was carefree, couldn’t be bothered to go with the flow or the crowd.

I heard Helmut Lotti sing on tv one day and fell in love with his voice. The Out of Africa concert? I watched it and even went and bought the cd.

Fast track 10+ years later, the cd is still one of my favorites.

So I put it on for my daughter the other day and she loved it. As soon as she gets into my car, if she can’t have Buffalo soldiers (story for another day) then she wants Helmut.

So on Sunday afternoon we were driving out of Kirstenbosch when she asked for The wiggles. I didn’t have The Wiggles downloaded on my phone so She asked for Helmut instead. The radio was already on and I was humming along, enjoying the song that was playing and asked her to let me finish the song. She agreed and was extremely upset when I tried to squeeze in a second song past her.

Even asking if she could have another radio. The liver of this child!!! In my car! Imagine!!! (I laughed)

I said no, she can’t have her own radio in my car and promptly put in Helmut. She was thrilled of course, asking if Helmut was still alive (remember Buffalo soldiers is number 1 and Bob Marley is dead) and which country he lived in.

I entertained her and though I did not want to listen to Helmut at that time I enjoyed the time and the questions. There are a lot of moments like that. When I don’t want to do something but I end up doing it because it makes her happy. She doesn’t always get what she wants, but when I do say yes it is with all my heart because she deserves that. A mother who is fully present and who does stuff she wants with her and who she enjoys spending that time with her.

She will not be this small forever, she will not always love Buffalo soldier or Helmut Lotti. Or want to spend as much time with me. Now when she does, I will drop everything for her. Everything else can and does wait. I have heard parents complain that they wished they had not been too busy or too tired to spend time with their children. I do not want to be one of those parents. I want to be present now, laugh now, live now. So I will play the silly songs, have Helmut Lotti on repeat, stop to take 1000 pictures, smell the flowers, take off shoes to walk in the cold water, get up and dance, roll on the grass and other silly things.

Let us be fully present when we are with our children. No halves. The phone can wait, the tv can wait, it can all wait.

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