When I Chose to be Productive Instead of Present

Family WalkYesterday, my son had his last basketball training day for this summer. Just like in the previous summer, my son joined Complete Basketball Camp with San Beda Alabang coach James Tolentino. Two months of thrice-a-week training had come and gone, and yesterday was the last day, the culmination of all that effort. My son was nervous and excited to play.

I needed to make a quick side trip to the bank. I had placed an online order to replenish some of our health supplements. I wanted to make the payment and send the confirmation that morning with the hope that my order will be shipped before the end of this week.

When my son and I arrived at the basketball court, I told him that I would go on a quick errand and be back as soon as possible. Training would take about two hours, so I figured I would have plenty of time to get back before it ended.

I went to the BPI Family Bank branch that was two minutes away, only to find out that their ATM was offline. I drove to the nearest BPI Bank branch which was about 15 minutes away. To my dismay, I discovered that their ATMs didn’t issue receipts at that time (and I needed the receipt to email my payment confirmation). I had no choice but to queue up for a deposit over the counter. I think I spent about 20 minutes in the bank, and I was so glad when I could finally head back to my son’s basketball training.

As soon as I sat in my usual spot in the bleachers, I was so happy to catch my son make a beautiful lay-up shot! I thought of my arrival, “Perfect timing!” When he approached me at the end of that quarter for a water break, my son said, “Mom, I really wish you were here during our first quarter. I played really well, the best I’ve ever played. I made several shots. The bigger boys were even cheering for me. I really wish you had seen me play so well.” Wow, turned out I had lousy timing.

After the game, I asked him to tell me what happened during that first quarter, how many shots did he make. He replied,  “Maybe four or five. Some were long twos, close to the three-point line….But it’s not the same, Mom. I can’t really tell you with words…I just wish you had seen me.”

I broke my son’s heart when I chose to be productive instead of being present. And I don’t want to make that mistake again. I don’t want to repeat that indelible heartache of years ago when I had to stay overnight in the office to finish a client presentation, and I learned that my husband had to explain to our then two-year-old daughter why Mommy wasn’t coming home that night.

Yesterday, I tried to make it up to my son. I promised that when training starts again, I will be there. I promised to ask his coach how well he did during that magical first quarter, to know more about how he played his best game ever. And I made a promise to myself that when there is a choice, instead of prioritizing being productive, I will choose to be present.



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