Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear, 10–11).
Cherishing the moment came naturally to me as a new mother, but as the days got busier and busier, this is something I have to work at.
On long car journeys the children would play a game called yellow car. It wasn’t a very exciting game but it kept them entertained. They would see how many yellow cars they could find. It was always a race to be the first. It always surprised me how many yellow cars there were around. I have discovered that the happy, precious moments of family life are there far more often than we realize. The more we look for them, the more we see them. The more we see and cherish them, the more we begin to create them, consciously and subconsciously.
To help me cherish the moments I record them in a journal at night or try to capture them in photos and add them on my blog.
I was recently taught the difference between a ‘human being’ versus a ‘human doing’. When life gets so busy it is easy to become a ‘human doing’ but this is exhausting and we can miss out on some of the most precious moments and relationships if we do not make the effort to be a ‘human being’. There are different things we can do, prayer and meditation are good but even those can feel like something that needs to be done. Try to spend 3 minutes each day doing nothing, just being. Lay down and recognise how incredible it is just to be you. Speak positively to yourself things like, “I am enough!”, “Even if I never did anything, I am enough just because I am me”, “I am loved for being me, not because of what I do”. This can also help change our thinking and keep us positive when challenges come and we doubt ourselves. ‘Being’ is something children are naturally good at but we often forget when life gets busy. They can be our guide especially when we are spending time with them.