Friday, April 25, 2008

Savoring the small moments

I'm so pleased to find that two great seasons--a new baby on the horizon and the spring--are coinciding currently in my life as a mother. Both have the effect of making me slow down and savor the moments of the day, with my children and my husband, with our Lord, and with the world around me. Most of the time, my instinct seems to be to rush through the day with an agenda, not always because there is so much to do, but because I'm lonely, or restless, or extroverted, or type-A, or whatever other excuse. It takes a conscious effort for me to slow down and enjoy each moment.

With a new baby coming, I feel like a chapter of my life with Bella and Bean is coming to a close, so it's easy (and a little bittersweet) to sit in the rock garden or in under a tree with them and laugh and feel no urge to rush anywhere or do anything educational or "productive" while we're sitting there. Bean loves dirt and bugs and worms, Bella loves flower petals and butterflies and rabbits, they LOVE goofing off together while I watch them, and that's been our only agenda every afternoon.

And the spring always makes it easy to "just be" outdoors and take in the splendidness of God's creation.

But again, it often seems to take a particular season (or two) like these to make it easy to stop and savor the small moments. Do you have particular places you go, things you do, habits you cultivate, reflections you ponder that help you slow down and "smell the roses" day to day?


Mary Alice said...

When my husband was in law school, we used to go skiing with another family on Wednesdays. We would trade off in the lodge with the little kids, and I loved that there were no distractions, the only thing I had to do was be with them, using play dough or reading stories or coloring. Being with the kids in the lodge was almost as much fun as being out on the slopes!

Anonymous said...

The one thing that I started after I began having children and my daily life had started to become engulfed with laundry, dirty diapers, finger prints and a messy kitchen sink, I started a journal called My Happiest Moment of the day. This helps me to savor the little things of my life that bring me such great joy.

95% of the time it has something to do with my children and my life as a mother and a wife... Things like climbing a "mountain" with my 2 year old...when it really was just a very large hill, but to her we just climbed the biggest mountain in the world!.. Or when all of a sudden I hear my 4 year old belting out the most beautiful ballad while standing on her bed admiring herself in the mirror... Or just sitting and hearing the 6 year old playing the piano a song that took us a grueling 2 weeks to perfect :).. Watching my husband do a cartwheel in the middle of our small living room to prove to my little gymnasts that "he CAN do it!!" ....massaging his back that evening after he admits he had pulled a muscle while doing that cartwheel :)...believe it or not one of my happiest moments occurred while on my hands an knees, scrubbing my kitchen floor all while 6 months pregnant...of course the happiest part of that was seeing I was half way done and I for the first time thanked GOD that I have a small kitchen, something that in the past has just annoyed me :)

It is such a blessing to be able to see how everyday is a real blessing, in every moment of our life God continues to bless us and even in our most difficult times, they too can be our happiest.

B-Mama said...

What beautiful thoughts from everyone... I love the idea of a "Best Moments" journal. May have to start one of those soon!

Today we helped usher in spring with mudpies and muddy train tracks in the backyard. The boys were SO dirty, but I tried to supress my uber-cleanly tendencies and just let them play. We were all pretty joyful as a result. And in the end, the bath washed away the dirt and left were two happy, vibrant young ones. God is good for moments like these.

Right Said Red said...

Loved this post Juris Mater. I am so type A that it is hard for me to just relax. Usually, and this very bad, I don't feel good about my day unless it has been productive. Unfortunately, playing with my kids and relaxing are not "productive." Sigh.

For me it is easier to just enjoy my children and relax if we get away from the house--like a trip to the park! With a newborn this has become more difficult. I think I need to do a better job of relaxing with my kids around the house...I just always feel there is one more household task to call me away. Maybe I need to actually "schedule" relaxation time!

Kat said...

What a lovely post, JM! I love imagining you with Bella and Bean, sitting in a garden and just enjoying some sunshine!

I find that sometimes, our kiddos force us to slow down and have "unproductive" days. Our eldest, C, is definitely a homebody and would spend all day inside if we did not prompt him to go outside. Once we're outside, he's happy as a clam and doesn't want to leave, but we could stay inside all day and he'd be happy playing and imagining. Maria is still taking long naps during the day, and if I want her to have a proper nap then we need to remain at home. So, I've realized that it's okay to have some slow days once in a while, and these days can be very peaceful and reaffirming for me, too, as long as I allow them to be :)

Kate said...

We are usually on the go, it is hard for me to stay in since my little one has a tendency to just start "getting into" things fast. The spring is lovely because we do usually just putter around in the backyard (he has a dirt box right now, an unplanted raised bed, that has been the source of hours of amusement) and I love to sit in the hammock and read while he does his thing.

But the other day he was just being fussy all morning, whining and grumpy, even playing outside. So we came in and just read books and did every puzzle in the house. That was some lovely downtime too, I think for someone as active as him, being out in nature can feel like pressure sometimes...this was so relaxing.

We did fold some laundry as part of the day, but that is only because it is his favorite activity right now :)

Mary Alice said...

We Princeton girls, we are organization kids at heart, so here is one was to make the joyful down time feel "productive." My friend Lissa, who is a beautiful genius of a mother, writes about a rule of things that should be included in your childs day:

• Good books

• Imaginative play

• Encounters with beauty (through art, music, and the natural world—this includes our nature walks)

• Ideas to ponder and discuss (there's Miss Mason's "something to think about")

• Prayer

So, now, all that beautiful time together is actually on your "to-do" list, and might I encourage you to place it there before dishes, laundry and chores, most days. I say most days because, in order to truly make this possible, somedays must be chore days.

We have a great plan, friday afternoons we neaten the house (put away toys, books, and socks that have crept everywhere, and then we have a movie and an Amy's Organic pizza together. Beginning the weekend with a neater house helps me to enjoy the weekend more.

Also, every once in a while I have to drop everything and do laundry. We had a video morning this morning. I have been feeling ill all week and we are now out of undies, so it just had to get done. I would say I wind up having to throw on a movie about one morning a month, just to catch my breath. For better or worse, this is my free babysitter. Usually, the kids can just play if I have stuff to do, but they were tired and out of sorts themselves and I knew that play would quickly dissolve into squabbles, and I did not have the creative resources to get them going in a positive way. Sometimes it is just best to say Uncle.

Now, I am off to watch a movie myself while I fold. Perhaps my beloved Song of Bernadette.