I do a lot of things right as a parent. However, there are many things I would love to do better. When I ask myself, “am I doing my very best? Am I giving my all in each moment with my family?” Honestly? My answer is “no”. I know that the thing I struggle with most is being mindful in the moment. Ugh. It can be so difficult and seemingly exhausting to be present and engaged in every moment of the day. Sometimes, I think it feels good to take on a mindless task like watching TV or scrolling through photos on Instagram. When I really reflect on these moments of my day however, I am left feeling empty. Disconnected. Alone. Unsatisfied.
The tragic events that have been occurring in our world recently have invited a lot of reflection into my heart. What are the most important things in my life? Where would I like to devote my attention? Which gifts would I like to share with the world? Where, and with whom, do I find the most joy? How can I be more mindful of these questions day to day? I realize that I have been missing out on many opportunities to live mindfully and joyfully due to the simple fact that I have often chosen a mind-LESS task over a mind-FULL one.
So today, I decided to watch my child play.
Luca loves to play and he has always been quite an independent child. I adore this about him. I am able to get a lot done around the house and can easily respond to texts or work messages when we’re out. But today, I simply wanted to watch him play. One of my favorite mindful practices is the practice of noticing. I wanted to notice him. Everything about him. I noticed his skinny legs as they tried to keep up with his quick feet running on the sidewalk. I noticed the sounds he made as he drove his car along the bench at the park. I noticed his rosy cheeks as the day grew warmer. I noticed the way he noticed a bird that walked passed him. I noticed the way he laughed and mimicked the way the bird walked. I noticed his imagination running wild. I noticed myself diving into his little world as he played. I noticed the way his face lit up with the biggest smile as he looked up and saw me noticing him.
My heart ached to know that had I been responding to an email or scrolling through Facebook, I would have missed the beautiful, loving smile of my son in that moment. It was a harsh reminder of how much life we could miss because we forget to notice. What have you noticed today?