Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Living in the Moment...

I am trying very hard to "live in the moment." It is not nearly as easy as it sounds.

The world is full of fun, crazy, frustrating, important, frivilous distractions.

For example: Go to check e-mail for just a minute- 2 hours later find that fishing pole you've been looking for on e-bay. Run into the store for milk- end up in the clearance aisle with a cute pair of tights and a cd of "Elton John's Greatest Hits Live".

Neither of these things are in themselves bad. But when you are trying to do one thing, it is difficult to get that one thing done without being tempted to switch gears every few minutes.

My father would say it was less about "living in the moment" and more about "staying on-task". I agree- to a point.

But where I find the "living in the moment" to be most profoundly necessary- and, yet, sometimes the hardest- is when it comes to spending time with people.

I have made a committment to my children to not answer my cell phone while I'm driving them in the car from place to place (which is a lot). And I am really good about it- most of the time.

During that time we talk, laugh, fight, we sing along to the radio together or I sometimes just listen to them. But the point is- I'm THERE. I have a completely captive audience with them then. And I want to make the most of it!

In the evenings my husband and I try to watch family-friendly TV and/or movies until after bed time. Then he'll turn on the bad guys-n-guns with the potty mouths.

I insist on dinner together. I'm trying hard to make sure we use "real" plates, silver wear and glasses. This gives the visual cues that this is a "dinner" and not just a snack to be inhaled while watching tv. (We do that sometimes, too- but I try to keep the distinction.)

Church is not "optional"; it is a family event, in which we participate together. And we support each other in sports, school events, and all the other happenings that come along.

I try to "be there" because I know that children grow up and move on. And I don't want to miss anything. Each year, each new stage- it just keeps getting better.

Remember when you were so in love with your spouse you couldn't stand to be away from them? Can you think of someone that you so admired that you just loved listening to their thoughts and ideas? Do you love just hanging out with your best friend?

My family is all of this and more. My kids amaze me. They make me laugh. They inspire me. And I miss them terribly when they are off doing "their thing".

But I also love watching them learn. And I am happiest when I know they are happy- even when that means they spend time away.

And spending time away with outside influences is healthy and necessary for them and for me. It makes appreciate what we have even more.

Try "being there" today. Ask questions, listen to them- and prepare to be amazed!

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