It bothers me every time I realize how many years I let pass by without really being present.
I used to live each day focused on how much I needed to accomplish and how many items I crossed off my to do list. That is how I measured my worth. It meant that I was always looking ahead -- and missing all the little moments of my life.
Recently I was asked to give a piece of advice to a soon-to-be new mom (who reminds me a lot of the overachiever I used to be) and the first thing I wanted to tell her was to enjoy every. single. moment. with her child, her husband & her family. I wished in words to impress upon her how important it is to stop planning each moment of her life and just live it.
I once so needed that advice.
But I wonder if I would have listened if someone had tried to slow me down. Probably not. I think it was a lesson that I needed to learn. The hard way.
Looking back on my mothering years I see that the moments I tried to make matter --didn't. Not at all. My attempts at special moments simply flowed into the rest of the moments of their lives and were quickly forgotten (or remembered in all the wrong ways.)
The moments my kids remember are the unplanned, seemingly insignificant moments, some of them I'd just as soon wish they'd forget. Not my best moments. Not at all. Not the scrapbook memories I was shooting for, the "perfect" mother, "perfect" family moments.
They remember the actual unplanned off-my-script moments.
Like the time when I was sharing a story about a school field trip we had recently taken while attempting to say the word "sugarbush" with a mouthful of salad. I ended up spitting ranch dressing all down the front of my green fleece. Recently, within the span of a week or two, both of my boys independently recounted that story to a friend. This happened years ago.
They recall the time I once let fly a huge swear word while driving the am school carpool after a chunk of metal flew off the car in front of us on the highway and I ran it over it. They still laugh and reminisce about the inappropriateness of the word I shouted.
Those are not really the moments I would hope they'd remember.
Things like the tradition of cutting down our yearly Christmas tree, or our week of family vacation at the lake, or how clean our house was, the uniqueness of the homemade Christmas cards we did every year, or the countless other things I attempted to do to leave lasting memories just don't matter to them.
What they remember is being in the real moments of life. The moments that brought a laugh or a cry, a scream or a smile ---good and sometimes not-so-good, unplanned and inappropriate....but memorable. The little moments that make up a life.
I'm so ready to smell the roses. Every. Single. Minute. And to teach others the importance of doing so.
Yesterday I went for a walk to clear my head; even though it was one of those days where rain (hard rain) was imminent. I started off without my camera and am so glad I changed my mind.
Water droplets on fallen leaves has to be the coolest thing I have been obsessed with photographing in a long time.
When I look through the lens of my camera I am completely lost in the moment. In the simple beauty that is right in front of me. It is beyond fantastic to be able to finally truly see the beauty in all the simple moments.
Are you still missing what is right in front of you?