A Moment In Time

When my first baby was born, my father would come to visit so I could ‘get things done.’  He would sit for hours, rocking my infant daughter to her heart’s content – and his.  I would dash around them cleaning, cooking, and running errands.  Knowing that my baby was loved and cared for, I reveled in my productivity.

I cherished these stints of freedom to catch up – until the day I stopped for a rest and really saw the two of them.  Plopping down on a couch next to my baby and her grandfather, I noticed the joy between them.  With nowhere to go and nothing to do, the pair of them were free to just love each other – to experience the peace of a moment spent together in silence.  I envied my father as I convinced myself that this was a benefit reserved for retired grandparents and not for busy mothers.

Several years and a couple of children later, my youngest daughter, now 8, finds me lying on the floor stretching a tight muscle.  Quickly noticing a rare opportunity, she throws herself onto the floor next to me and sneaks in for a cuddle.  A previous version of me wants to peel her off and set her back on track for the harried morning routine.  But the ‘Live Like You’re Dying’ version of me cuts off the drill sargent in my head with a reminder, ‘Enjoy it! You may not get another chance!’

So I sink into the moment.  Wrapping my arms around my sweet girl, I whisper, “It’s so easy to love you.”  She squeezes me tighter and plants a kiss.  A flood of love engulfs us.  We lay like this in suspended animation.  Time becomes irrelevant.  Life becomes only this moment.

Eventually, voices of the family remind us that the clock has not, in fact, stopped and the school bus waits for no one.  Searching for a delicate way to break our bond, I say to my daughter, “If we stay here coveting each other then all the people who were meant to benefit from our presence in their day will miss us.  They won’t get to share the gift of you and me today.  We need to spread our love around.  We need to do what we’re meant to do.”  Without pause, without doubt, my daughter trumps my logic with her own wisdom.  “Mom,” she replies, “THIS is what we’re meant to do.”

Yes, baby, it is.  How are you, at eight years old, so wise?  And I, at the tender age of 42, am just learning these lessons that you know so well?  With regret, I review the scant amount of times I’ve stopped long enough for a child to slip into my arms.  I feel actual pain in my chest when I recall visions of me dragging a child by the hand with quickening steps.  I shudder as I hear scripts play back in my head, ‘Let’s go. Not now. No time. HURRY!’

I could drown myself in sadness over lost moments.  Instead, I vow to change.  Never a day will go by that I don’t offer a hug or ask for a kiss or speak the love words.  Never again will I be unapproachable to a child.  Never, will I miss the fullness of a moment spent in stillness.

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