Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Distracted Driver

4 Comments

For Mother’s Day, I want the will power to become undistracted.


 

Ummmmmmm …..

That moment when I realize that my son has been talking to me for who knows how long and I

haven’t

heard

a

word.

My consciousness is caught,

held hostage

in a little silver box

that pulls my fingers in a mindless dance across its smooth, reflective surface,

and with each touch removes my mind from interaction.

OK….

the question he has asked may be…inane…repetitive

the answer has not changed

since the one-hundred-forty-seventh time

I tried to explain why

Prince Hans had tried to kill Queen Elsa with his sword.

but really…

is the competition for my mind so much more stimulating?

My Face Book scroll of dinner plates prepared by Trader Joes,

or Buzzfeed quizzes – what is my inner animal?

or snarky memes – from either side – that grossly over-simplify opponents’ position and intelligence.

And so I try

force myself

put down the phone

engage

converse

Until, insistent, beckoning vibration

my fingers twitch

my mind leaps

like Pavlov’s dogs,

salivating for DISTRACTION.

Ironic actually,

it started off in longing for CONNECTION.

escape from the cocoon of total motherhood

separated by an ocean from all family and friends

and by a barrier – of both language and culture – from those I saw in daily life.

It used to be a tool to DECREASE isolation.

But then…

but NOW.

A roadside sign flashes in bright rebuke:

DISTRACTED DRIVER

PUT DOWN THE PHONE!

And though my silicon companion sits in placid innocence,

tucked in the nearby cup holder

not in this instant exercising its magnetic pull,

the force is only dormant

’til it pulls attention into slave’s submission.

And I know

the sign applies to more

than just the car-bound portion of my time.

My life,

my presence,

my precious, sought-for attention

Is being guided by a DISTRACTED DRIVER

and

like a texting teen

I am in danger

of crashing.

 

 

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Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

4 thoughts on “Distracted Driver

  1. This is so very, very beautiful. You’ve packed a book’s worth of wisdom in this one small piece. Bravo!

    • Oh thank you so much! I wish I didn’t have the experience to teach me this lesson, but it is a kind of consolation to know the words can speak to others. At least today’s poem on parenting is a comment on the flip side of real engagement 🙂

  2. Serena,
    After I met you at the sewing class, I had a feeling you were a deep person…
    This poem is so poignant and written beautifully…
    May I share?
    I also would love to read it during my workshop (with your permission and of course I will give you proper credit) Stress and Children: simplify your life, gain balance and peace…It fits to perfectly with my message…
    I alway loved poetry…I love the brevity, the musicality and the “squeezed” wisdom in them…
    Thank you!

    • Anna- thank you for those kind words. Of course you may share the poem. I write for the joy of it, and because I hope others will be touched by my words as well. I am honored that you would want to include it in your course. I hope your students find it meaningful.

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