Microwave Orphans

An abandoned mug and a beeping microwave. Today's reminder to respond to the quiet beep of our kids.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Beep. My microwave oven has a beep which usually goes unheard. I pop the lukewarm coffee mug in for one last warm-up. I hit 'reheat'. The familiar microhummm begins. I head off to do something 'real quick.' Often, the scalding hot coffee sits too long and returns to room temperature. Abandoned, it becomes a microwave orphan.

The microwave does it's best to remind me. It lets out a quiet little "Beep." A few seconds later, "Beep." No response. "Beep."

I'll be off doing whatever I was going to do 'real quick' and stop to wonder, "Now... where did my coffee go?" I'll even wander into the kitchen looking for my mug without any recollection of my supposed re-heat, until the "Beep."

"Oh. There you are." I say. As though the mug were hiding.

I inherited this trait from my mother. So did my sisters. It's a familiar family quirk. Nobody thinks twice about it until we're together for reunions or visits. Then, our forgetful similarity becomes humorous. We laugh about it. "Who left their tea in the microwave??"

Today's little beeping reminder got me thinking about things unattended. My kids used to beep in crescendos. When they were little, they'd do the common Doppler affect call. Like an approaching truck on a highway, they'd start quiet, then louder, and louder and loudest, then quieter, then quieter, then disappearance. "... mom... Mom... MOM.... MOM ... MOM ... mom ... mom ... never mind ..." The best choice is to respond as the call approaches, before it gains decibels, and well before abandonment. It's a mother's learned science and timing.

What is beeping for attention right now? Is it noise, or importance?

If my child is beeping loudly, chances are good, whatever else I'm doing should wait. Yes, there are times when it's just TOO MUCH beeping. True. Sometimes the beeping must be curbed.

However, more often than not, they are beeping because my attention has departed -- shifted elsewhere. It's hard to step away from the computer, or the deadline, or the phone call, or the neverending list. It is. A million 'urgencies' clamor louder than our kids needs. Truth is, most of our busy-ness can, and should, wait. The people in our lives need to be first in line -- before the busy junk.

Today's Lesson from the Microwave:
I need to get better at listening and responding, lest the important people in my life feel abandoned like orphans, and grow cold like my coffee.

Speaking of which.
I'm off to retrieve an orphaned mug ...


Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

Love this post, Kelley. It's so true. And believe it or not, you reminded me that I have a cup of tea that's been waiting in the microwave for several hours!

Kelly said...

Kelley, This post left me with chills. It is absolutely spot on and beautifully written. Would it be okay if I copied it? I would like to read it again. I would like to refer to it. Kelly

Kleigh (clAy) said...

@Debbie, we are a forgotten-tea-sisterhood.

@Kelly, thnx so much, and of course!

Rita said...

Kelley, Where were you with these great posts when I was a young mom? You are sooo right. And please, please all you young moms believe with your whole heart that the saying "They grow up so fast" is the absolute truth!!!!