My day begins with an obscenely early wake up call, courtesy of my children. On weekdays, the chaos starts immediately. I chase my three and a half year old around the house. First, trying to get him to eat something… anything. Then wrestling him to the ground, placing him in a loving headlock, and forcing clothes on him. I promise him world peace and a monkey in exchange for brushing his teeth. And I plead with him to get your shoes on!
Our mornings are predictably unpredictable and anything but easy. But, one thing stays constant during that hour of mental noise. My eyes stay on the prize. The promise that, in just a few short moments, I will be alone sipping my hot mom crack and enjoying the silence. And, by silence, I mean the unmistakable sound of five woman sitting around a table, discussing current events.
The action picks up again a few hours later, when I set my new goal – just make it to dinner and bath time. Once we’re all in our pajamas, we curl up together and watch Dinosaur Train. I can finally exhale a bit, I’ve almost made it through another day with a toddler and a baby.
After I get both boys to sleep, feeling like I just climbed Mount Everest, or at the very least hiked a large hill, the wine is opened and the much anticipated relaxation begins. We’ve all made it to the end of the day relatively unscathed.
I find most of my days fit this blueprint, always rushing to get to the next step, inching closer to the end of the day when I can stop waiting on everyone. As much as I love my children, they are my life, I find myself willing the time to pass faster each day.
“Oh, if we can just make it through this I can relax.”
“My God, I can’t wait till we are out of diapers. I’m so sick of wiping someone’s butt all day!”
“I’ll be so relieved when we can stop buying formula!”
All day long, these are things I tell myself and others.
And then, a funny thing happens, usually prompted by something seemingly ordinary. I’ll look at my son, putting on his own shoes, talking to me about animals and his best friend, Colin, and the panic sets in.
How can he be this old already? Where has the time gone? It terrifies me that I have no control over it, and that I can’t keep my babies… babies forever.
Along with the despair at my inability to stop the clock, or turn back time (Cher was on to something), comes the regret of not staying in these moments more. The irony does not escape me. I spend my days willing time to speed up, and then when it does I am devastated.
My mind moves fast and in a million different directions. Even when my body stops, my mind forges ahead frantically, looking for something to wrap itself around. I’m always jumping ahead, the type of person who bites into a peppermint immediately, failing to savor it for even a moment. I always regret that.
Relaxing my body comes easily to me, relaxing my mind, a much more difficult task. I am terrible at things like yoga, which is exactly why I need them. I must find a way to stay in the moment, fully and truly. Right now I’m using one moment as a building block to get to the next. Finding a way to let these moments stand alone, is important to me. I’m just not sure how to do it.
How do I slow down my mind enough to think about the just now? It’s something I have always struggled with, but now it’s not just me anymore. I owe it to all of us, to appreciate all of it. Even those moments that are hard.
I need to stop, breathe, and soak it all in. Before it’s too late and it’s all slipped away.
The here and now is so elusive sometimes, and I need help finding it.
How do you stay in the moment?