I started when my boys were quite young.
My sons, 16 months apart, needed me at every 5-minute interval…or both at the same time. Sometimes I could not catch my breath until the end of the day when they were finally asleep for the night. My husband would work late hours, sometimes out of state while I was home alone with them. I didn’t have family nearby to help relieve the load, so it just got intense.
I started to see the days meld into one another, an endless sea of diapers and yoga pants. I needed something, even just one thing to set them apart. Each night before sleep, I’d write that one thing down in my journal. That one thing I could hold on to for that day.
My oldest fed me Cheerios. He very seriously placed them one by one into my mouth.
My husband and oldest were practicing their “evil genius” laugh until we all couldn’t stop laughing.
Youngest son is so soft and squishy when I pick him up from his nap. His cheeks are IRRESISTABLE!
Instead of looking over the day in the evening, I started to notice these moments as they were happening. I would say to myself, “This is going to be my favorite part of the day.” Then I started saying it aloud. For some reason when I did that , it gave the moment more strength, it gave me more strength for the rest of the day. I was more grateful. I even started noticing more lovely moments before the day was through so I’d have three or four to write in my journal at the end of the day.
When my boys were 2 and 3 and a half we took a road trip for vacation. For nearly two weeks we drove from Seattle down to the Bay Area for a reunion, to wine country, down to Los Angeles and back. Each day was full of challenges with two small ones but also full of friends, family and new sights.
Each night at dinner, in an effort to focus them on eating and staying in their chairs, we started the ritual of going around the table, asking what was everyone’s favorite part of the day. Moments my husband and I had found challenging, the boys would share as their favorite part of the day. Sometimes moments we didn’t remember were shared. They were noticing. They were learning gratitude. They were teaching us to be grateful. As we shared meals with friends and family at restaurants and homes during that trip, they too would chime in with their favorite moments, that we otherwise would not have said aloud. One night we listened to each child, each friend, each family member, share their moments from the day. Our friend, Eric was last, he raised his glass of wine and said “My favorite moment of the day is right now, listening to all of yours."
We have kept this practice ever since. My boys, now 5 and 6 and can’t wait to share their highlights each evening at dinner. It is a ritual I hope they continue as they grow to be young men.
It is marvelous what we can see when we decide to be intentional. We can see the beauty in small moments.
What is your small moment today?