Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Living in the moment and being present in the present

Life is Good: my kids are great teachers

Month of Gratitude, Day Twelve

Today, I am so very grateful to my children for helping me to live in the moment. They have taught me to be present in the present.

For as long as I can remember, I have been thinking about what comes next or planning for time ahead. And to be sure, I am still a planner, I am still thinking about tomorrow and next week and next month. But I have learned to give the planning, and the thinking ahead, and the preparing a smaller amount of time because I don't want to miss out on what is happening right now.

A perfect example is lunchtime today. I decided to forego, or at least delay, my lunch so that I could get some things put away and clean the kitchen while our littlest person ate his lunch. But he decided that he wanted me to feed him his lunch. Bite. by. bite.

Now, he is in no way incapable of feeding himself. He is a few months past two years old. Really, he wanted my attention. Okay. Fine. I get it. So I sat down and tried to efficiently (read: quickly) feed him his lunch. But, nope. He wasn't having any of that. "I see through you, mama. You need to slow it down," he seemed to say through those dancing blue eyes. And if I didn't get it? He would make sure that I did.  By requesting that for every bite I gave him, I gave one to this little person, too.

This is "Baby Boy". A doll my brother gave to the big kid when he was a baby. Our big kid loved Baby Boy, but passed him down to little brother when he acquired a certain pet tiger and dinosaur aptly named, "Rex". Well, recently, little brother has become obsessed with Baby Boy. He must be in the vicinity of him at all times. Often accompanied by a sock monkey my mom made, a whale named "Licorice" (which is especially fun to hear a two-year old pronounce) and a couple of dogs named "Snickers" and "Buster", Baby Boy is hugged and snuggled, shown how to play with "guys" (baseball, football, Playmobil, etc), taken on "trips" that require a backpack, put to sleep so he can snore (loudly, I must say), and today, fed like a real, live boy.

So I did it. I gave the little one a bite and then I gave one to Baby Boy. Another bite for our little one and another bite for Baby Boy. And so it went. Slow and slower. All the while, our little one smiling and giggling with satisfaction. And I smiled, too.

I didn't get my tasks done until later. But what I got instead was far more valuable than the gratification of clean countertops. I got time, smiles, and a moment with my child that I can never get back.

I know parents are supposed to teach their kids about the world, but my kids are teaching me about life. They're teaching me to stop and feed a doll and savor the moment. They're teaching me that I need to enjoy today because none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

Today, I am grateful for two blue-eyed, curly-headed cherubs who have changed my life and changed my everyday. And for the sense to treat every moment like it is the best time in our lives. Because it is.

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