quality time


Yes, it’s George Clooney.

It’s relevant; trust me.

Just go with it.


Last night, a reader told me how much she envies the quality time that I spend with my girls.

Lisa, this is for you.


Last Thursday.

It’s nearly 10 pm. Okay, maybe it’s only 9:30, but it might as well be two in the morning. The fight to keep my eyes open was lost before it started.

Katie is sitting in my bed. This is the closest we have come to ‘spending quality time together’ in a week. In between Brooke’s bedtime and hers, she climbs into my bed, we pick a show to watch together, it starts, I pass out and drool on the pillow, and eventually Luau comes to bed and sends her into her own room. Quality parenting right there, I know. But reserve your judgement. Because it gets worse.

Katie tweaked her shoulder a couple of days ago. It’s been bugging her ever since. In the last fifteen minutes, she’s asked me to rub it, push on it, stretch it, and massage it. I’ve tried to oblige, but I’m literally falling asleep with my hands on her back.




“Mama,” I hear somewhere in my subconscious, “it really hurts.”

I try to process the words through a thick haze of sleep. Clearly I am not successful because what I come up with in response to, “Mama it really hurts” is ..

… are you ready for this …?

“It’s okay, honey, It happens. As long as you learn from it, you’re doing fine.”

It’s the peal of laughter that snaps me into a terribly uncomfortable state of semi-consciousness.

I say something super eloquent and very meaningful.


Katie says, “Mama, that was pathetic.”

I’m looking around the room trying to figure out where I am and what this really cute kid is doing in my bed and why she’s calling me Mama. I repeat what seemed to work before.


“Do you know what you just said?” she asks. I wrack my poor little shell-shocked brain and hope against hope that whatever it was, it didn’t involve George Clooney naked.

In slow motion, the fog lifts and the pieces begin to come together.

“Um, I said something about it being okay as long as you learned from it.”

“Right,” she says. “In response to me telling you my shoulder hurt. Nice try, Mama. Very motherly, but um, no.”

We laugh. As tired as I am, it feels good.

I pull her into a hug, tell her I love her, say I’m sorry that her shoulder hurts and close my eyes, hoping upon hope that George has waited for me to come back.


Oh look, it’s George.

So, what have we learned today, friends?

Ah, yes …

It helps to actually stay awake to spend quality time with your kids.

You’re welcome.


18 thoughts on “quality time

  1. Good one! I may or may not have once uttered “no more apples, have a cookie”. Sleep deprivation can do funny things to parenting 🙂

  2. Being physically close is as important as being awake…even if you are asleep she knows you want her close and it does count. We all need to give ourselves a break cause as long as we show our love for our kids they’ll be fine.

  3. …you are not alone… Not in the nonsensical words, not in the guilty feelings of never having enough to go around, and not in the drool. I have been known to sing some unintelligible lyrics to well know bedtime songs…

  4. HAR!!!! Nice to know our hero mom is human too. Quality time with my 13 year old son is sometimes me telling him I’ve been bored ALL DAY waiting for him to get home, and dang it, he’s going to play with me NOW or I’ll annoy him into submission. Too bad if he’s tired after a long day of camp/school and needs down time!

  5. I have also been known to demand that my boy stop reading (he choses solitary locations) and come and watch tv with me and cuddle. If he wasn’t such a nice kid, I wouldn’t do it.

  6. When my mom was in ICU (and heavily sedated) recovering from open heart surgery, I tried to put her in her “happy place” by saying: Imagine yourself on a warm, tropical beach with … I had to pause for a second to think of someone from her generation (in her 60’s at the time in 1991) that she might want to have in her happy place. Before I could come up with a name, she said (and the only words she said during my visit, due to sedation) “George Clooney.” He would have been my choice, too! My mom passed away in 2004, and the best memories I have involve moments like yours and Katie’s, just being together and…just being.

    • oh i love this. what a fun, wonderful memory, even of such a difficult time.

      ((i’m so sorry for the loss of your mom))

      • Thanks so much! And thanks for your inspirational posts – they help me to keep in mind that it’s often the “ordinary” things that make our lives and relationships extraordinary!

  7. Oh. My. Gosh. Perfect! We had a marathon morning today, and I just sat down for the first time to check Diary. I nearly fell off the couch as I read it. Now THAT is the type of quality time I am famous for!!!! I feel so much better now :). My teenagers regularly mock me for my semi-conscious responses…or, worse, they imitate my snoring. I, too, have given many shoulder rubs that have put ME to sleep!! But, I don’t think I have ever mentioned George Clooney. Brad Pitt, maybe….

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