Kids are purely amazing. They will teach you so much about yourself if you are humble enough to let them. I read this quote by Lao Tzu once that really resonated with me, “If you are depressed, you are living in the Past. If you are anxious, living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the moment.” It explained so much about myself. As someone who has suffered with anxiety throughout my life, I finally made the connection that I was all too often living in the future.
I am guilty of over scheduling myself. I sit every Sunday and look at my week ahead to ensure I have something planned for every day. Multiple events in a day are not uncommon in my life. I get bored sitting around the house even if for a few hours; it feels like a waste of time when I could be accomplishing so many other things. I prefer my schedule to be packed almost to the point of being overwhelming because to me that feels like I am making the most of my life, getting the most out of my life. No wasted time.
During the week I have errands to run and chores to do. Most times I have to drag my two sons along for the ride, much to their dismay. Of course by the end I have tired, grumpy kids to which I am saying just a few more minutes; just one more stop; stop whining; just let Mommy do this last thing. It always ends in bargaining and pleading from both parties just to get through my mile long do-to list. My mind is focused on the future, on the things I have to do, the events coming. Cards I need to buy for birthdays coming up, screws I need to buy for the project I am planning, those pajamas I need to buy cause my eldest has grown like a weed lately. But when I stop and look at my kids, I know they are miserable. They are living in the present moment and that moment sucks. Who wants to go grocery shopping to actually buy groceries? They want to go because there’s awesome fish and cool lobsters to look at. Who wants to go to the mall to shop for that birthday present when you could be riding the glass elevator or pretending the stroller is a race car. Kids live in the pure and innocent present. If you are able to get out of your head and into the present moment, magic will happen.
Tuesday I decided was my ‘present’ day. The glorious sun was shining and I’d planned to take my boys for a walk to the nearest coffee shop and after we’d spent the rest of the morning playing in the backyard. During our walks, my boys are always calm and happy; my eldest and I talk about all the trucks passing by and my baby just plays and smiles at me. We reach the coffee shop and I pay for my coffee and muffin. My son says to me, “mom can we sit at a table outside?” He’s never asked me that before. “Sure, of course we can,” I reply. We find a table for two outside and he climbs out of the stroller and into the chair across the table from me. There is a special twinkle in his eye as he sits there chatting and eating his muffin; he is so excited to be a big boy, my coffee date, but he is nowhere near as excited as I am. There is no one else in the world right now that I’d rather be sitting across from than him. This is a coffee date I want to remember forever. Bashfully he asks me if we can go to the park on our way home. I figure he thinks there’s a 50-50 chance I could say no cause we don’t have time. Today we have time, so I say yes. Immediately he gets so excited and wants to jump back into the stroller to go to the park right now. I follow his lead. At the park, I stand back and watch him climbing, running and admire how fast he is growing up; pondering how he doesn’t need my hand guiding him up the chain ladder to reach the top of the slide. There’s no one else at the park except for the three of us and in that very moment I know why. This is my precious reward for just living in the moment with my boys. I get this time just for us and don’t have to share. They don’t have to share my mind with my lists; they have all my attention. We are perfectly at peace together. Happy, pure happiness in these moments.
Kids have the amazing ability to live in the moment and do whatever strikes them. It’s truly magnificent their pureness. My kids are certainly showing me the best and not so best of myself. They are the happiest when I ignore the rest of the world and just play with them. My love and attention is all they ask.
So I humbly acknowledge that I am aware scheduling every minute is not truly living life at all. Life actually happens in the unscheduled moments while living free. Those are the memories we make, the ones I treasure. My kids are teaching me more about life than ever before; they make me aware of what is important. There will never be a blessing greater than my two amazing boys. I hope one day they grow up to read this and know firstly how much they are loved by me, but how their Mom was humble enough to admit that sometimes maybe they did know better.
“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
(John Lennon, 1980, Darling Boy)