“Wow, will you take a look at that incredible tree- it must be 200 years old. That shape, the delicately hanging moss, look at the branches and those funky roots… aren’t you lucky to be surrounded by such beauty on a daily basis?”…
These words, spoken by my mother- in -law, initially fell on deaf ears as my only thoughts while staring at the tree I pass everyday were how was I going to get my 6 year old down from that high branch safely, would I be able to catch up with my older son who took off on his bike after growing impatient and why wasn't he wearing shoes- again. (Did he get his flu shot?) In addition to that, an array of thoughts circled my mind such as deadlines, dinner options and rescheduling dentist appointments but not one involved the beauty of the magnificent tree right before my eyes.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that manages to loose sight of what’s directly in front of me from time to time (maybe slightly more often than that). As conscientious mothers isn’t it part of our job description? To juggle millions of ideas, thoughts and concerns in our head? The truth is we’re not actually solving any of them at that exact moment, so maybe we should put more effort into consciously shutting them down. As I begin to quiet these non-stop distractions I'm trying to focus on being in the exact moment, and pay attention to what is lovely and fleeting right in front of me.
Because I shutter to think of the little experiences and pleasures I’ve missed while I contemplated things like did anyone think my shirt was see-through at the PTA meeting ( hypothetical of course)
When I think back to that day at the tree, I’ve realized that all it takes is a few deep breaths and a decision to be mindful and present when my gut instinct is to zone out and re-play all the little inconsequential things that swarm.
I want to notice the beautiful butterfly my son is chasing and not the fact that he’s wearing two different shoes. My sweet daughter deserves my full attention when telling me about her class presentation, not my shell sitting there while I try to remember if I signed permission slips and responded to the 12th birthday invitation this month. And the truth that I have discovered is that it’s incredibly rewarding and soul lifting to live in the moment, after all, we can’t get them back. There are far too many joys that are missed when we allow ourselves to be constantly distracted.
Along with staying present myself, I'm also trying to step back and let the kids find joy and wonder in their experiences as well; while I always do my best to keep them safe, I don't want to be that overly fearful mama and ruin a flash of pure boy fun. Boys have been navigating trees for hundreds of years and unless my son is obviously falling out of it on his head, I’m training myself to just take a step back- and not only enjoy the moment, but be truly immersed in it.
So, whether it’s a sunset, an incredible garden, a fleeting butterfly, or just a stroll hand in hand with your loved one, try to remember like I am to live in the moment- a little effort for a truly rewarding outcome, even through the hard times in life, there is so much to be thankful for.