The rush of the holiday season had ended, the days became unbearably cold, and our spirits were restless, waiting for the warmth of spring.
Winter was a time of quiet reflection, a time of enjoying our precious six month old son. Yet our family of three was anxious to warm our hearts with the closeness and conversation of friends and family, as we made plans to attend a birthday celebration. Bundled up, with blankies, diaper bag and birthday present in tow, we set out with sweet anticipation of a night full of adult conversation and connection–something we were in desperate need of!
As the night unfolded, we shared stories of family, work, and play, and connected back to that place of comfort and ease that old friendships provide. It’s always nice to know that when real life takes us our separate ways, it doesn’t matter how many miles apart we are or how much time has passed, we can still reconnect as if no time has passed at all.
During the party, baby and I had to excuse ourselves for an evening nursing session. As I heard the laughter and conversation from the party outside the door, I felt a small tug of resentment toward my sweet, chubby-cheeked baby who was demanding my undivided attention. While this was a nightly ritual I usually enjoyed, it was a reminder of how much my life had changed in recent months. Almost immediately, “mommy-guilt” set in, and I realized I could never hold onto those negative feelings for long, when I was sharing such a sacred, intimate moment with my son.
Those sounds of laughter and conversation were soon drowned out by the children at the party running down the halls, screaming with glee at their own late-night celebration. In that instant, I realized that in the blink of an eye, this child in my arms would soon be joining them. He would no longer rely on our skin-to-skin contact for sustenance or connection; these sweet and quiet moments shared between mother and son were numbered. As he grew into a little boy, he would still need his mommy, but he would also slowly give me back my freedom and independence, one birthday party at a time.
In that instant, that lasted mere seconds, so much insight and feeling was revealed. This was truly a pivotal experience in those first months of motherhood that helped me to understand the importance of savoring the moment.
One of my favorite quotes that often serves as a reality check is, “The only thing constant is change.” Try as we might, we cannot slow down time, we cannot hold onto those priceless moments, and we cannot live in the past. Motherhood provides us with a monumental gift– the ability to settle in to the present, appreciating what life has to offer now. At times it seems we are so disconnected with the human experience and the common threads that bind us together; love, warmth, joy, and play. With our busy schedules, deadlines and commitments, it can be difficult to come back to the present, where the real-ness of life lies. That present moment for me was abundant with love, joy, sadness, and a deep sense of gratitude.
I kept that gratitude with me, as the cold winter days wore on, and I continued to savor those special times with a child who was growing up right before my eyes. Suddenly, bed time, bath time and everything in between became a monumental experience I was eager to enjoy, despite the exhaustion, worry and stress that so often accompany this role of motherhood. Yet, as the hands of time march on, the reality of those deadlines and busy schedules creep into daily life, and we miss so many opportunities to celebrate the little moments that provide us with peace and joy. If motherhood has taught me anything about being present, it’s that it is an active practice–a practice of gratitude that has the ability to transform the way you see your world. Savoring the moment means we also need to learn appreciate the lessons that come from hurt feelings, doubt, anger, and guilt. The influence those moments hold can be equally, if not more, powerful.
As I continue along this journey of motherhood, I am learning and evolving every step of the way. While time will not slow down, I have learned to cherish, beyond measure, these priceless, touching moments that fill my heart with an overwhelming sense of love, joy and wonder.
Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.