I spend the greater part of my life watching people.
Not people watching at the airport in some cool sociological experimental kind of way. Not watching my fellow Target shoppers to see if maybe they are filling their carts with a magical life changing product that I need to purchase immediately regardless of cost.
No. I spend my life watching my children do random crap. I am their audience. All day, every day. That is my life. It doesn’t matter what I had planned to do, it all comes screeching to a halt at the words, “Hey Mom! Watch me!”
Look at me!
Watch! Watch the whole time! Don’t turn your head at all!
They add that last bit because indeed one time I DID turn my head. Oh, I turned it real good. To the left, if I’m not mistaken. I turned my head, and my eyes went with it, and I put my attention on something else for just a quick second. A little tiny second. I didn’t even think they would notice. But they did. Because they were watching ME, watching THEM.
You looked away
No, I didn’t.
Well, only for a second. But I looked right back. I didn’t miss anything.
You missed the whole thing! Now I’m going to have to start over.
Oh, dear God.
So now, when I’m watching the thing-that-I’m-supposed-to-be-watching, a cannon could be shot off right next to my ear and I wouldn’t even blink. I wouldn’t budge. I wouldn’t turn my head or flinch in any way. I would go on watching my daughter show me the Irish Step Dance moves that her friend taught her during kindergarten recess that day with an intensity that defies logic. It’s either that, or she will start over. Take it from the top. And as 73% of my day is spent watching things the first go-round, I can’t afford to waste any remaining precious time watching it again. I just can’t.
I’ve watched flips being flipped, dance moves being busted out, video game good guys beating the video game bad guys. I’ve watched the trailers to Five Nights at Freddy’s IV and V. I’ve watched towers being built using all the cups in the 100 pack of plastic cups that I just bought. I’ve watched kids gargle. I’ve watched kids making bubbles using the entire bottle of soap in the bathtub. I’ve watched kids sledding, skating, swimming, and shimmying. I’ve watched kids taking pretend selfies of themselves using pretend phones, kids pretending to walk on a runway while pretending to be models. I’ve watched how high they can throw a ball into the air, and how many times they can kick a balloon before it touches the ground. I’ve watched them jump up and touch the ceiling light thingy even though I’ve told them not to because it could come crashing down and crack their heads open. I’ve watched them twirl. I’ve watched them flexing their muscles (suns out, guns out). I’ve. Watched. It. All.
You’ve watched it all, too. I’ve seen you watching your kids perform some random circus trick while you sit at glassy-eyed attention. I’ve seen you not blink. I’ve marveled at your ability to not move even when a hornet buzzes by your ear. The only tell-tale sign of distress is the trickle of sweat running down your temple.
We should form a support group called “The Watchers” and we can just meet once a week and give each other pep talks and watching tips. Maybe have a couple of staring contests while we are at it. Then we could hang out on comfy couches, talk about how crazy our lives are, and watch each other drink margaritas.