Thursday, March 09, 2006

Superstitious Snapshots

I have to confess to being superstitious. It only shows up once in a while, like refusing to announce, "Peter is potty-trained," because I don't want to jinx it.

But one of the ways that I've found myself being superstitious is this little trick I do that I call taking "mind snapshots." It started one day after I had heard YET AGAIN an older lady (or man), looking at my kids running around my knees wreaking havoc, say,"Oh, honey, these are the good days. Don't wish them away! Before too long you'll look back and wish you could come back to this time!" Which, by the way, I hate. What a horrible thing to tell someone: "It's downhill from here!" But even harder to hear when you are a young mom, frazzled and exhausted. Yeah, yeah. They're cute. I know they are--I've seen them asleep. But this is HARD. I refuse to forget that this is hard. And I will never, ever say that to another young mother when I am well past this stage and probably sleeping all the way through, every night.

Anyway, I heard this little speech one too many times. And after watching home movies of the kids two years ago and realizing that THOSE little kids were gone now--where did they go?--I decided that there was probably at least a little truth to it. So I decided to try to become more conscious, as the days go by. I'm going to make sure that I don't miss all this and look back and say, "Where did it go?" I want to look back and know that I KNOW where it went. I want to know I was THERE for it. I want to imprint on my mind all of those sweet little moments just to prove to myself that I'm not missing them.

So I've started taking snapshots.

It starts with prayer. I ask God to help me notice those little moments (the ones I will miss most later) WHILE they are happening. And He has. I'll feel a little nudge: "Psssst. Darlene. Heads up." And I'll become aware that I'm there, in the moment, and experiencing joy with these little guys. And I'll take a little mental snapshot. "There. That's the moment I want to grab."

If I have enough of them, I'll change into a person who remembers joy, who has no regrets, and also, hopefully, somehow, someone who is able to feel joy as it happens and not just in retrospect. I love the scripture that talks about the righteous having a "perfect knowledge of their enjoyment." That's my goal. And, hopefully, taking these little snapshots will, like knocking on wood, keep me missing out on the good stuff.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This is uncanny. I have been working on this very same thing for the past while--being aware of joy in the moment, marking it deliberately in my mind. Last week we watched our home videos from 5 years ago and I was just amazed at how time has moved on. It made me all the more determined to not look back and say, "I wish I had enjoyed it more." You described it perfectly!

And I agree about how hard it is to be warned repeatedly by older people. One day my mom called right in the middle of a chaotic scene in my kitchen. She sighed, "Oh, these are your golden years!" and I almost chucked the phone against the wall. She may be right, but I tend to feel defensive with statements like that. I need my motivation to come from within, I guess.

Whenever I hear a new-ish grandmother talk about how she had forgotten how hard it is to chase toddlers, etc, I can't help but smile. I appreciate having someone acknowledge the hard parts of the job. Otherwise I feel like there must be something wrong with me.