I see you…here I am
8 second ritual to connect with your child
(and calm her down!)
A year ago, I enrolled in a Mindfulness program because my 5 and 3 year-old had crushed all patience left in me.
In those 3 months attending the program I reconnected with the practice of meditation, they taught me how to live in the present moment; I gave myself permission to enjoy my time away from my kids and most of all, I learnt to close my eyes and trust that everything, and everyone, would be fine when I opened them again.
At the end of the program, our guide asked us to make a circle and each participant had to repeat the following dialogue, looking into each other’s eyes:
Me: I see you…
Peer: I see you, here I am…
Me: Here I am.
Simple and powerful. Most of us cried because looking directly into somebody’s eyes has become a rarity. We are all going through life looking down, updating Instagram, answering whatsapp or gossiping on facebook.and we only look up to take a selfie. We all want to be seen on social media but when someone takes the time to look directly into your eyes and tell you – I see you, here I am – It reaches into your deepest core.
So, I decided to take the experience back home to see the results of such powerful words.
I waited for a moment of calm to share with Dante, my 3 year-old, what I had learnt in those hours I spent away from him every Wednesday night. I went down to his eye level, I gently grabbed his hands and getting my face close to his, I began explaining.
It made Dante very happy. He thought it was fun to learn his part of the dialogue and he enjoyed the physical and eye contact. Besides, he was going through a siblings’ rivalry crisis and this ritual was “our” thing.
Days went by practicing, always during moments of peace, until one day, in the middle of a gigantic fight with his brother, one of those where you have no clue what to do with so many big emotions at the same time, I went down to Dante’s eye level and with the most peaceful voice I found in my repertoire, I said:
“Dante, I see you…”
“I see you, mommy (crying)… here I am…”
“Here I am”, I said looking into his eyes and then I took a deep breath and he did the same.
Slowly but surely, Dante recovered from his big emotions and found his balance again, and from there, we were able to talk about what had happened with his brother and found a fair solution.
The 8 second ritual was an anchor to the tsunami of emotions he experienced.
It’s been several months of using it as one of my tools to connect with my toddler and, from there, resolve conflicts, talk about difficult emotions, and not only his, but also mine, because sometimes I am the one who needs it.
It is a simple, short and beautiful way of practicing mindful parenting and to teach them, from an early age, to stop the speed of today’s life, to let go of the past, erase the expectations of the future and to look into the eyes of the people they love and tell them, “I see you…here I am for you”.