One of my love languages is ‘Quality Time’. And after a whatsapp video call with my family today, I reckon it might also be one of my niece’s.
The call started out with me talking to my brother and my nephew. They were at my parents’ place, in the living room. In the middle of my conversation with my nephew, it became apparent that my niece had appeared, and wanted in on the call.
After chatting with her for a bit, she headed off upstairs, taking me with her. Still chatting as she went. I thought we were just going to get something and come back. We ended up in ‘her’ room, aka my brother’s old room. She asked me to hold on/talk to Ollie (new-ish toy pet), while she preceded to set herself up comfortably on the bed.
While she was setting up, my Mum popped in to see who she was chatting to, and we had a couple minutes catch-up about her birthday dinner with the family the night before. My niece then announced she was ready, so we continued chatting.
In quick succession, the following had gone through my head, “But wait, she’s just taking me upstairs. So we staying up here now? Didn’t get long with my nephew. How long we staying up here?…” – Video chats when everyone is available are kinda precious.
But then I told myself “Be present in what’s happening here.” I switched to being fully engaged. I also asked her to “tell me 5 things you like to do?”
Eating garlic bread; going to school (a maths book was mentioned); birthday parties at Kidspace; drawing.
I either cannot remember the 5th, or she stopped at 4. The latter being a realistic possibility, as she asked if she could draw something for me. It was an extra cool moment, as when we were downstairs, she’d shown me what she had written and drawn in her diary (pink). I was gonna ask then if she’d draw something for me, but the topic changed.
She started off drawing me a house, and when I asked if it was in the UK or here, she said Indonesia. She then asked what she could add to it, so I suggested a flower or a plant.- In my mind it was my papaya plant.
And so it went on. Her asking for ideas, but for them not to be too difficult. Me trying to think of things I thought she could draw. Her using what was around her or she already knew, to help her visualise how to draw it. Shoes based on her shoes. Which also came with her telling me about said shoes. I thought they were a pair of black ones with flowers on that I’ve seen her wear. Turns out they are pink. Then a bag, based on the one Ollie was carried in.- As she had already drawn an outfit, which had the right kind of hat to go with it. Me asking her if she could draw an umbrella, as it is always good to have one. Which led to me saying that it will be rainy season here soon, and I needed to buy one!
This was a precious back n forth. With me getting to enjoy learning something about my niece, and sharing in something she likes to do. I got to affirm her efforts, encouraging her when she said she wasn’t that good at drawing shoes.
Our conversation was interrupted by a low battery alert. So we returned downstairs, and brought my brother and nephew in on the conversation. My niece continued to ask about things to draw, and after each thing, her pink diary would come into view with the latest addition.
By the time we had to say goodbye – both because the low battery had not actually been put to charge, and they had to get ready to go out – we each had something to ride on, and our pack lunch (by consensus) for our trip was going to be garlic bread and pizza.
It was quality time. Time that later may not be remembered in detail. However, I reckon the sense of connection, the feelings, and the stored memory of those feelings will.
Even if your love language is different, I reckon we can all appreciate a bit of quality time with someone now and then. When you get those opportunities, be present, be engaged, and enjoy them!
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