I can’t even remember the day or night. I’ve tried a hundred times and simply cannot recall. When was the very last time I carried Bailey and Darby in my arms? Most likely, Darby was about nine and, Bailey was more like eleven because she was so small. It was probably carrying their little bodies in from the car heavy with sleep after a long, long day. Maybe it was moving them from the couch to their beds because they had fallen asleep during a movie we were watching. At the time, it was possibly that insignificant – just an every day mundane task. As I lugged them up the stairs with my back straining, I’m sure I was thinking that I would not be able to, “… physically do this for much longer.” But was that indeed the last time? I wish I could remember for certain. I wish I would have known that was the last time. I would have held them on the side of their beds for just a little longer, rocking them and kissing their cheeks and foreheads.
We remember where we were when the horror of 911 unfolded. With such clarity we can bring to mind where we were and what we were doing the moment we learned a loved one died, or was in an accident or called to say, “I have cancer.” It seems those moments shock us back to present – really where we should be living all the time. A moment like the last time you lifted your children in your arms to carry them should top the life list as a mother; but, I can’t remember. This year Bailey is a senior and will soon be going to college. How could that have happened? She was just two years old, smelling like Johnson & Johnson baby lotion, sitting on my hip with that creamy complexion and her rosy fat cheeks - pulling my face to look at hers as if she held a national secret. “I duge (love) you, Mama”, was her wonderful secret. Thankfully, she still tells me so. Seems like my, now 13 year old, Little Man was just 18 months old looking at me as if I were the love of his life, snuggling into me wanting me to kiss him on his fat cheeks – kiss after kiss after kiss – that infectious belly laugh shaking his entire body as he giggled, “Do it again.” Thankfully, he still wants me to kiss him.
So, I am plagued yet again by one of my worst faults - not living presently. I am so terribly guilty of this. A better work horse, planner, “detail” person and organizational thinker you will never find. I can multitask better than most and can make a twenty-four hour day seemingly stretch to 26. I can do the work of three people in my office. I am fast. I am efficient and accurate. Everything has to be perfect. I am a customer service guru both outside and inside my home. I used to think these were fine attributes… they signified accomplishment and production. But as I have conceivably lived half my life, I have become conscious that these are not attributes, they are trappings. They have put me on auto-pilot for most of my life; for, if I am “planning” am I appreciating the “now” moment? …Sadly no. If I am so engrossed in detail after detail am I seeing the “now” moment? …Once again, no. And while I have been constantly striving for perfection I have now come to realize that I am committing the highest form of self abuse that exists.
The second half of my life will be living more in the "NOW". It will be a real challenge for forty-three years of training has been ingrained. But if I can consciously sort of “come back” when I feel myself mechanically going through those very “productive” motions; and, truly just be from time to time, I think that will really be something.
As I write this, it’s very late at night. I just left Darby’s room where I stole about ten kisses from his cheeks and forehead as he slept, tears rolling down my own face. What I would give to be able to recall the last time I mundanely carried my child to bed. I made the awful mistake of thinking a mundane task was just that... mundane. Conversely, they are jewels. Those are the moments that matter. We are here for just minutes and our kids grow to adults in seconds. Pause. Live in the now. God surrounds us with awe every day.
I duge you, Bailey and Darby, M♥m