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Mia and Missing the Moment

My young adult daughter taught me a valuable lesson the other day. She has taught me countless lessons in her 21 years, as has my son in his 18. Our children teach us at least as much as we teach them and help us grow in extraordinary ways we never thought possible. But this one was especially poignant given that I am all about being a Mom in the Moment.  This blog I have embraced writing is not just about all things MOM, it is about being fully and authentically PRESENT. Sometimes we can’t “see the forest for the trees” and I was a little wrapped up in the trees and my wiser-than-her-years daughter gently and lovingly helped me pause and see the forest. 

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It was Sunday night and we were sitting and eating a late dinner at Panera on our way to take Mia back to DePaul. It had been a full day of family time, shopping and lunch, small talk and quality mom-daughter conversation. Throughout the afternoon there had been some time we were not together and I took that opportunity to write and prep blog stuff. This is all still new to me so I probably get a little too wrapped up in it at times. Mia got up to refill her drink…I took a quick look at my phone. Oh no! Message from a friend alerts me to the fact that I had a misspelling in my Instagram story. Really not a big deal but I am not thinking clearly so I go check the story, just as Mia returns to the table. I explain what happened and what I’m doing because we both try to be considerate and not on our phones when we are with each other. It wasn’t always like this, but over the last year or so Mia has gotten more conscious of being present and thoughtful of who she‘s with, which is truly a special thing. Anyway, I set my phone aside to try to practice what we moms preach, especially what I, being a Mom in the Moment, preach. 

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The messenger notification dings on my phone. I glance over at it while still chatting and eating. Noticing the message is still about my Instagram mistake, As I pick up the phone I tell Mia I just want to respond to this friend that I will fix it later when I am back home. Even though she isn’t saying anything I can tell that she’s irritated with me. Heck, if the situation were reversed I would be irritated with her. Maybe not as much, because I’m usually appeased if whomever I’m with just takes to time to let me know why they are diverting their attention for a minute or two. But everyone is not me and I must remind myself of that quite often lol. After I sent my message I put my phone away in my purse and looked at Mia. I apologized for letting myself get distracted. She reluctantly accepted, and then she spoke to me with exceptional caring and compassion. She explained how important it was to her to have my full attention when we got to spend time together. And then came the insightful lesson. In essence she pointed out how working on something – even something related to my blog — while I should be focused on and enjoying my time with her went against the very soul of my blog…being present. I was not being a Mom in the Moment. The kicker – I had been doing this more than occasionally lately…ugh. Even ordinary moments are often extraordinary moments and I was missing out. What a blessing that my daughter was able to show me patience and grace and help me truly absorb a lesson I have preached, taught and tried to practice, but had missed the mark in this instance.

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I was overcome with new depths of love, admiration and gratitude for my daughter. I made sure she knew this, and also that I was going to renew my efforts to not let distractions steal my attention. No matter how we might try to justify “taking just a minute”, especially with how attached most of us are to our phones, the bottom line is that it isn’t fair to anyone we might be with. And it isn’t fair to ourselves. We miss out tremendously on the most precious gift of all – being in the moment. Fully experiencing, enjoying and appreciating the person and activity that is part of our NOW. 

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