Every day life catches up with us. Whether we want it to or not, it will always be there. Even long needed vacations eventually end and we must again head off back to our reality. Between deadlines and work, running to the grocery store, and making the eye appointment for your daughter. There are times when we focus on the tasks we need to get done. I admit — I am just as guilty. My list of things is separated into piles with actual boxes to check (No joke — before every item, I draw a square just so I can check it off), and once the list becomes too difficult to read, I create another list. Have you ever made a mistake writing out your list and you re-write the entire list over? Yep…that’s me. You should see my calendar. For years, every person in my family has had their own highlight color and it helps me differentiate between who has what on what day. Maybe some of you can relate. But in the middle of all of that, we have moments. And we need to pay attention to them when they happen.
The first day of school
Today is the first day of school for many of our local children and the elementary school just down the street is no exception. Too many times on my morning walk today, I saw parents with cameras, taking pictures of their son’s first day of kindergarten or the group of girls who have finally made it to 6th grade. At one house, while the boy stood proudly on the step, just outside the front door, with his perfectly combed hair and new shoes on his feet, he smiled his biggest smile for his dad while mom stood by, holding a baby girl. I even overheard one frazzled woman trying to explain to her son about something that must have been important. She was very focused on getting the task of taking her kids to school and off to work. This same scene was replayed so many times as I watched silently, remembering back to the same days when I was the one that held the camera. Fast forward to today and my reality is quite different. Tomorrow, my youngest son begins his first day of school…as a senior in high school. Our other two have since graduated and we no longer take the “first day of school” pictures like we used to when they were younger. Those moments had long passed and without much thinking, I noticed a tear running down my cheek that got caught in my selfish smile as I remembered walking to that very school on a day just like today. It is funny what will trigger our emotions — even those things that we are not even connected to personally. But we can relate. Once I returned home, pictures of friends’ kids covered my news feed on Facebook as the same event I had just witnessed was now being shared with other family and friends everywhere.
Live in the moment
Are you like me? Thinking about all the things you have to get done and because your list is so long, you almost don’t know which one to do first? I feel that way sometimes. How do take time to live in the moment? How do we stop time — even briefly — to hold onto what will never happen again? Most of us take pictures. We share them in ways never imagined when I was growing up. Polaroid was a big deal back then because you could instantly see the picture you just took. All of these moments that are not as big as your first child’s first day of kindergarten are just as important too. The ones where you find your kids sitting in the same room, watching a movie (because they choose to, not because you made them)…the ones where your older kids help the younger ones put on their shoes…the ones where a simple, hand-made “Mother’s Day” card can make you forget everything they ever broke in your house.
We need to remember to take time to remember…to love the memory. All of them. If we kept our kids little, we would never get to take their homecoming pictures…we would never get to help them with their homework…we would never get to watch them get married…or someday give us grandchildren. Just because a moment no longer exists doesn’t mean it has died. It just means we need to find it more often. It is perfectly tucked away, kept safe, until we need it again. Until we need to remember.
So take your pictures…write down what happened and who was there…and tell these stories. Because when it all comes down to it, no one is going to remember where you stood in line for the first day of school, but you will remember your backpack. No one will remember how many things are still left undone on your list, but they will remember your smile. Life will hurry up on its own…we don’t need to help it. Take a step back and breathe. Embrace the memory while it is still fresh. Smile through the tears, even though it is hard sometimes. And love every moment you are in right now…because you only get to live them once. Let’s go easy and breezy when we are “Living in the Moment” by Jason Mraz
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©