Be present. Live in the moment. Choose your battles. Take a deep breath. Take another even deeper breath.
Do you ever have those days when you have to repeat those words to yourself over and over again, yet you still can’t stop yourself from being impatient with someone? Usually someone who is a member of your beloved family? Often someone who is very cute and dear and knows just which buttons to push just to see how you might react? You know what I mean. We all have those moments. I think, when my children are grown and don’t really need me that much, I will forget those times. Already I find that irritation is washed away at the end of every day when I see my daughter’s silky little still-pudgy cheek resting on her hand as she sleeps, or when I see my elder daughter’s giant feet sticking out from under the covers, looking so vulnerable and strangely incongruous with the fourteen stuffed animals she is clutching to her chest with both arms.
On the weekend I was reading a really good blog called Making this home, and the title of the post was “Today will have no regrets.” It got me thinking about my own days, and how I can ensure that I have no regrets. Of course that would mean that I would resist losing my cool over the fact that a meal never goes by without someone taking one look at what healthy choice we have lovingly prepared and saying a very loud and definitive “Bleh” with the oh-so-effective “talk to the hand” motion.
Or it could also mean I would just not regret losing my cool, I suppose. That is hard, however, especially if losing my cool involved me slamming my hand down on the table and shrieking “Oh YEAH???!! Well, DON’T eat it then!!” I know, which one is the more childish in this scenario, right?
We make charts all the time that have as the ultimate goal the creation of well-mannered, helpful, respectful children who do not pick their noses with their toes (that actually happened at tonight’s supper) and who really hustle their buns to do chores like water the plants and make beds. So perhaps the time has come for the creation of the adult mindfulness/no-regrets chart. In the meantime, I will just think about what might go on such a worthy document.
Last week my four-year-old and I clipped some branches from the forsythia bush in our yard. We brought them in and put them in water to try to force the blooms, just as we have done with crabapple, apple and plum branches. Nothing seemed to be happening with the forsythia, though. I have walked by those branches many times in the past few days, and honestly have stopped noticing them. For some reason today my gaze fell on them, and I saw that tiny green leaves are coming out, with the gold blooms just starting. I called Ava to check on them. She dropped what she was doing and ran through the house pell-mell. She was so excited, she started shouting “Mama, Mama, they’re bwooming, the branches are bwooming, look look!” She was ecstatic. I want to be that way, too.
I vow to seek joy in the little things of my day. Yes, I am busier than usual at the moment, and it is tempting to just go blindly, to get through, to go through the motions. But I will stop and sit in the twilight after the girls are in bed, with no sound but the companionable breathing of my husband in the other chair and the turn of pages from upstairs as the girls read. And in the morning I will get up earlier, make my tea and watch the sun rise, and think of how good it all is.