There is something to be said for being able to catch the little moments as a parent. We don’t document them, and tend to hope they always stay in our minds. Whether its that smile your child gives you, their laugh, a board game, or when a lesson is being learned; we take these moments for granted. Its the biggest challenge in life of enjoying these moments, and not join the rush in everyday. As a parent, especially a Mom we are ALWAYS on the run. It certainly felt like this when I was working, but there is still chaos as soon as the boys come home from school. From the need of getting dinner on the table, household chores, getting the kids to play outside while its still nice, Colin needing to do his homework, and there is so much more. How do we possibly slow down?
Yesterday, I read an insightful post about how one parent doesn’t let their children use electronics. It gave my heart a little push. How many times in the last year have I been so stressed out, or felt down that I have told the kids they can just go play their games, or watch tv? How many times have I let being afraid of the boys acting out in a restaurant that I gave them my phone? Now that later part of the previous sentence has improved drastically. When we go out now (as its rare) there are NO games, or phones at the table. We are all together and I want to hear everything they have to say. How else do we know the details of our children’s lives?
Yesterday while Colin was doing homework, Alex and I had a marathon of playing Disney CandyLand. I realized we hadn’t played in awhile, and Alex was definitely being a poor sport about losing a round. I just kept flipping the cards, and sure enough he ended up beating me. A lesson was quickly taught on not giving up before its over. We went on to play at least 4 more times. By the time we had finished playing, he didn’t mind he had lost a couple of times. I sat and thought, how have I missed being able to teach Alex this? Its so important for children to learn they don’t always get what they want, they don’t always win, and to be a good sport.
After cleaning up from dinner, Eli and I were hanging out in the living room, while the boys cleaned up for bed. Alex came running downstairs to give us each a big hug and kiss before he went to bed. He gave off this little laugh, and Eli kept having him repeat it. Alex has always had an infectious laugh, but he has this new silent laugh he starts off with that turns into a giggle. Eli pointed out, “his little laugh is changing.” There, we a caught a moment, right there.
I catch myself staring at the boys wondering how are their appearances are changing, or when did they grow a little more? When I got Colin up this morning, I couldn’t help but catch how he stretches as he wakes. I still see him as a toddler. He stretches his arms out over his head, has his eyes closed, pouts his lips, arches his back, and lets out this whine. It has always been this way for as long as I can remember. It makes me smile, and gets me teary eyed thinking of it. Even though he comes up to my shoulders now, he is still my baby in that way. I keep thinking of when Alex will finally get too big for me to carry him downstairs in the morning. When he will finally be too heavy, and I won’t have his arms wrapped around me. These are the small things we take for granted. One day it will just stop, and we will someday wonder when it did.
Usually I sit and just stare out the window for a little while each day, or on the front porch. I’ve done this at home, when I worked, or driving. Its remarkable to see the seasons and scenery changing, and to convince myself that I will enjoy the now. I used to sit at our dining room table, in our old house and watch one tree changing colors. We don’t take into consideration how our lives will be different the following year when that tree changes again. How can we? We don’t predict the future. After finishing a fall clean up at the old house yesterday, I went inside and caught a glance of that tree. It has just starting to change colors. A year ago, I was home with Alex who was sick with a bug. I can’t remember being home with him, but I’m sure it consisted of snuggles, TV, talking to my Mom at some point, and looking at that tree. Our scenery adds to our memorable moments. Now I sit in our new home office and take in our scenery here. I wonder what will be different in the following year?
Our life is like going down a river, we go with the flow, sometimes fight the current, hit a rock, find something new, and take on new passengers. Its so important to pull to the side sometimes though, and look at where you were/are. I vow to be more present in the now, and to make my kids more present as well. They should remember these moments. I want them to grow and think about life, not just follow the current.