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The Magic of the Moment

If you are a mom (or dad) who felt like you could connect with my post about college drop-off 2 weeks ago, you probably have a good idea what I mean when I refer to “the magic of the moment”. We “experienced” parents of college-aged kids have created years of beloved memories with our kids and this perspective helps us to appreciate just how precious each moment is. I know that some of my friends are like me in wondering how many more years we have with our children living at home. This helps us to deeply understand the feeling of wanting to make every moment count. To soak in as much time with them as possible, even the “nothing” moments like watching a show together or having a cup of coffee before heading out for the day. Last night I talked with Ben on the phone and heard a few of the day’s highlights and exchanged goodnights. Not a big deal, right? Some may laugh but this filled me with joy! It was a gift. Because really, I don’t think any moments are “nothing” moments. 

 In this day of multi-tasking, over-scheduling and technology, too many people miss out on the magic of what they may perceive as mundane moments. About a month ago I was at the park with my friend’s two little ones and we were all playing on the various equipment. Yes, that means me too. It was so much fun! I remembered many times I had done this with Mia and Ben PLUS I was getting to experience this wonder again through the eyes of these two. Eventually 2 or 3 other little kids joined us, which was wonderful, except the reason they joined us was not so wonderful. Each of them was with a parent who was preoccupied with a phone call, a friend or looking at a phone. This made me really sad, not just for the children, but for these parents who were missing out on magical moments. It’s entirely possible that they didn’t even notice they were missing anything important, or that they assumed their child didn’t care if they played with them or not. Yes, there are times things come up that demand our attention and clearly that’s ok. Mostly though, these interruptions can wait, and when they occur too often they can leave a lasting impression on children. Not to mention that there is beauty to be found in these kinds of moments. 

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 There are other ways we miss out, too. As adults, we’ve all been at a party or gathering where we or others spend more time taking pictures and posting to Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat than we do actually experiencing the people, food and moments. Of course we all want to document the special times with our children. I love knowing that I have photo albums and videos of sweet moments of my children at all their ages. But when we focus too much on capturing it all with a phone or a camera, we forget to capture it with our hearts. The best way to illustrate this is to compare two scenarios – a reflection on two pre-homecoming festivities. In both scenarios parents and kids gathered for pictures, appetizers and fun conversation. But in one all the parents and kids were engaged in conversation and 100% enjoying this time together. In the other get-together a few of us adults and kids were socializing and being present. But many were intently focused on posting pictures to various social media on their phones – adults and kids alike. I recall observing this and feeling disappointed that these people were missing out on the magic of these moments. They were thinking ahead to how they could create the perfect post, or being impatient to get the captured moment onto social media. To notice and treasure the magic of the moment means training ourselves to pause and make a conscious choice to pay attention to our current experience. To fully and wholly take it all in. It means maybe being late with our social media post about special milestones. But that’s ok because it’s better to be present with what’s actually happening than thinking about how we’re going to share it with everyone else.

 It’s an ongoing challenge – this living in the NOW. It is also the most beautiful gift. Even full immersion in the present can come with the occasional reflection on the past ore dream of the future. But it doesn’t have to distract from cherishing the NOW and when we realize this, that is a genuine blessing.

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