This post is coming to you one-handed. My arm is stuck under a sleeping human. I dare not move it. It is so rare for him to be in such restful slumber during daylight hours. Not going to lie, it hurts. Blood flow has been stifled and his sweet angelic head is jabbing into my shoulder, continually popping it from its intended joint. Sounds like torture, and yet it is one of the best moments of my life.
There are so many moments in parenting.
Moments that stretch on forever and feel like they will never end. Moments that feel like an eternity of worry, awkward positions and sleepless nights. I mean, boob sacrifice in the name of breastfeeding is enough, but it is only a minute endeavor compared to the epic nature of toddler tantrums and napless days.
These are also the moments they stick to you like glue. Seriously, they latch on for dear life (see: Velcro Baby). A wrap or carrier are incredibly useful until they are at least three.
These are the ones I like.
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Your babies need you, but more importantly they want you. They want you to pick them up at the store because handholding isn’t enough proximity. They want you to lay beside them and snuggle and read the same book over and over until you feel like you look like a Walking Dead extra.
“Mommy, lay right here.”
“Daddy, sing me a song.”
Children stretch the last seconds awake milking them literally and figuratively for all they are worth. How many adults can say that? That we are so present in each moment that we want it to extend on for an eternity. Our moments are more like a monotony of to-dos in an ever-growing list. We will never be done, so we can never just be.
I am trying to soak in the moments for all they are worth. Yes, have I written fewer blog post the last few weeks? Sure. Have I worked out less? You betcha. Have I lived fully in each moment truly experiencing my family for all they are? Probably not, but I am trying.
The details of life often distract me from the bigger picture. It is easy to get stuck in the minutiae that I won’t even remember the next day.
What I would like to do is to be in each moment. Really in it. So, I want to focus on what I will remember next week, next year or even 50 years from now. These toddler years are quickly fleeting, and sometimes they are really tough, I mean, whoa. And yet they are wonderful.
The inquisition of a toddler is akin to paddling upstream with a broken paddle. But it is also magical. I mean, who else can be so excited by something as mundane as dirt. 20 questions, bah, my toddler laughs at that, he’ll take a million. A million questions is a million moments that my son looks to me as an expert in my field, you know parenting. He thinks I know EVERYTHING. It is part of the package until children realize that you are not infallible. Give it time, it will happen. But for now, I am enjoying his curiosity and love of life.
Precious moments are not just a Hallmark marketing scheme, although, that is part of it. They are these instants that we must cherish while we have them. It is time to turn moments into memories. It is time to not just capture it on camera, but in my heart.
5 Simple Steps to Stay Present
Put down the cell phone and camera.
Do it. It is tempting to capture each moment for future reference/to show off how cute your kid is, but save it for big events. Ask someone else to take pictures if possible. If you are like me, 99% of photos of my son do not include me despite the fact that I am with him more than anyone else.
Designate specific times for work and to-dos.
Work may be a necessity of life, but so is play. Plan out time to devote fully to work and chores, so that the moments you are in can be lived to the fullest with those that truly matter.
My mom came from the country where the roads were winding and you never knew where you were going. She took that philosophy into parenting and I have gleaned from her. Now, I continually try to get lost with my son. This doesn’t always refer to geographical location. In fact, my GPS and I are on good terms. It refers more to the sense that you let things play out. Setting no expectations or preconceived notions of what will happen extends the possibilities. Our poor adult imagination is often bound by our own limitations, but children have the freedom (if we let them) to see beyond that.
Sometimes it is simple as closing your eyes and breathing for a few seconds to bring you back into the present. If you have time, extend this to yoga or daily meditation, but realistically, it may only be a few seconds. We hear ya!
Hug, snuggle and tell your family how much you love them.
Affection not only creates special moments and lets others know you love them. It also can remind you why you love them so much. This is especially handy when your son is yelling because you did not slice the bread correctly or when your husband hasn’t put away the laundry you folded for him a week ago. Remember to take the good occasions and cement them into your memory like gorilla glue. You might need to recall upon it later.
Living in the Adventure
By: Addison Messer
I looked up and there you were
Staring back with eager eyes
No longer the baby I used to hold
Oh, how swiftly time flies
Not always the tick of the clock does move
No, sometimes each second can linger
The test of wills does grow each day
And sometimes I haven’t a clue what’s on your finger
The days may stretch, temperaments a’flaring.
But I remember when you were solely reliant
Now, you tell me what you want
And are even at times defiant.
Life moves so intensely
like a strong current,
Leaving memories in its wake
If we do not have time well-spent.
Laughing, playing, getting dirty
Moments I would catch like fireflies in a jar
To spend each day truly living
And sharing adventures of near and far
Excitement ebbs and flows
The roller coaster had just begun
Someday you will grow and leave
But you will always be my son.
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