As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Gift of the Moment

My husband is fond of reminding me that each moment is gift for me.  Whatever the particular circumstances, good or bad, delightfully glorious or insanely frustrating, this moment (and every one after it) are for me.  They are gift.  Not just to be endured, but to be accepted, embraced, so that their goodness can be fully revealed and delighted in.

I find so often that I react to a situation without really thinking.  I respond however the circumstance dictates (with anger, frustration or excitement) and think about it after.  I've been trying lately instead to take a moment before responding to just soak it in, to clear my head.  With so many toddlers and silly little boys things are often very explosive, and I often respond with an explosion of my own.  I've been trying to breathe a little, to give myself one minute to put things in perspective and then respond.

This is particularly challenging with my two-year-old, who is both explosive and destructive by nature.  His intensity is one the things I love most about him, but also presents the greatest challenge to a Mom whose whole day revolves around a neverending to do list.  I have often lamented lately the great burden it is to me that I am constantly worried about what he is going to get into, what lock he is going to break, what job I have finished that he is going to come along behind me and destroy all over again. It has caused me to respond with a heavy sigh as soon as I see him, wishing instead that he would just go play quietly somewhere with the other kids so I can finish what I need to do.

I don't want to be that way.  I want to enjoy him as he is right now - a beautiful, vibrant, intense, two-year-old boy.  So yesterday afternoon while the baby napped, I set aside my to-do list for a half hour and just played with the kids, all of them.  We laughed and were silly, and when I set about the rest of my day I found I had a new perspective.  These little guys are fun!  The fact that they are in my face, interrupting me from my daily chores - that's not to irritate me, that is for me.  So I can breathe a little bit and enjoy life, enjoy them. What a blessing they are.

This morning I was trying to do school with the older kids.  One of the boys got a karaoke machine for Christmas, and not long into our lessons I could hear my toddler with this machine blasting pop music from the basement at a volume that easily broke the concentration of all my students.  I (nursing the baby and stuck in my chair) asked him politely a few times to please take it in one of the bedrooms and close the door.  But, given the ear-piercing nature of this delightful toy (thank you to the individual who bought that for them, by the way!) he didn't hear.  He walked right up the stairs, the offending sound getting louder and louder, and I breathed in deep.  As I saw all of my students lift their heads from their work, the concentration I had fought so hard to gain for them gone in a New York minute, I listened to his gruff little two-year-old voice singing the words into the microphone, and I laughed.  We all did.  He was so cute!  I listened to him for a minute, told him what a great singer he was, and asked him to please take it back downstairs.  With a little coaxing he agreed, and the big kids got  back to work.  I think it was just what we all needed to relieve the tension of the burden I place on all of us to work without distractions.

It's so easy for me to just let life pass me by. To get so focused on surviving these moments that I forget to be in them, always looking instead to the crazy expectations I set for myself (that maybe I can  reach and maybe I can't.)  I am so grateful for a husband who reminds me to accept the gift in each moment, the trial and challenges that are uniquely and blessedly mine.  And of course for the little ones who know better than me, and are constantly calling me to chill just a little, and enjoy the beautiful gift that is my life.

Happy Friday everyone!  May we all spend a few minutes soaking up the goodness that is ours in each moment.

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