The other night something remarkable – like “eye opening remarkable” – happened in my parenting journey.
The parenting moment was rare. You see, I rarely find myself intimately talking with one of my sons – alone without interruption. I am not kidding. I can probably count on one hand since the birth of my son five years ago. One on one time with three boys six and under? Not. So. Much. Our evenings are a sweet, delicate mix of laughter and chaos eventually piling into a bed together – all five of us – reading a story until I fall asleep only to wake up a few hours later with sleeping bodies nestled close to my body.
Parenting in the Present
Don't get me wrong. I cherish those parenting moments. I watch my sons' chests move up and down with each breath, lips slightly open allowing the warm, soft breath to exit. I rub my hand over their smooth backs and kiss their cheeks before heading out of the room.
Lovely thoughts don't always fill up the moment. Usually, I also find myself recounting the day's events critical of where I could have done the whole parenting thing better, could have done differently, as if I can change anything about the hours already come and gone.
Why didn't I read one more story?
Joining them in the tub would have been fun, maybe next time. What if there isn't a next time?
I could have held him while he wept instead of walking out of the room frustrated.
Did I really have to check my email at that moment (you name the moment)?
Can you relate?
Have you been there?
So, on this particular night, I cuddled with my six-year-old listening and telling stories about the day. I typically ask my boys a few questions at the end of the day like:
What did you discover today?
Tell me about a challenging moment you had today?
Tell me about a time when you were kind today.
And so on.
In the final moments of our talk, I turned my face to my son, combed my fingers through his increasingly darkening hair, and I asked him enthusiastically:
What was your FAVORITE part of the day?
He paused in thought for a few seconds then looked at me with his crazy beautiful big brown eyes and replied:
Right now, mama.
Yes. Right. Now. Simple words packed full of power.
Feeling tears drown my eyes, I wrapped my arms around him, squeezed his body as I smelled his freshly washed hair and said:
Me, too. Thank you. Thank you.
He looked at me as if he knew why I thanked him, rolled over, closed his eyes, and quickly fell into a deep sleep.
The wisdom of children astounds me. Slowing down and allowing the space and time for wide open eyes and attentive ears deliver the wise reminders that we need to hear. Parenting is hard, friends. We all have those “exact second I realized I was failing at parenting” moments. Go forth, mama. Capture the “RIGHT NOW” moment.