I haven't done this very well lately.
If you follow me at all, you would know this to be true with my lack of paying attention to my website and blog. Life has slipped away as I pour myself into my kids, my husband, and the book. There has been time for little else these days.
When life is lived at full speed, we are incapable of having the moments of our days absorb into the fabric of our life. As quickly as the moments come, they slide off our skin the same way.
I have produced a ridiculous amount of work, food, activity, sleepless nights, projects, frustration and disagreements with my kids and weekends away lately. Over the last few months I literally have not stopped. There hasn't been time. And every time I hear people talk about slowing down and simplifying, it is another avenue for guilt to seep in and overshadow all other emotion, crowding reality.
I know the way things should be. I know the way they can be. Sometimes we are able to make choices to help us slow down, to enjoy, to invest, to participate. If I was being truthful however, most days I don't feel that way. That even the possibility of slowing down is a futuristic ideal that can't really ever be achieved.
So how do I intentionally live my life and not let it slip by?
When slowing down is literally not an option for this short or long season in your life, we all have the capability of absorbing the moments around us, willing them not to leave us so soon. If I won't stop to see the people and the memories directly in front of me, then I am destined to miss my life.
I live in a strong constant motion of doing. Cooking, cleaning, baking, ironing, washing, picking up...well everything, creating, crafting, shopping, mending, gardening, driving, helping with homework, helping with getting dressed, helping take baths, helping find this particular day's specific super hero outfit. The work is never done. The moving never slows.
So how do I slow down?
I am not sure I can. However, I can take a moment to pause.
To measure my life and hold on, even just for that fleeting moment.
The fleeting moments of my life, my marriage and with my children.
My oldest son is hard for me. I see his kind heart and his empathy, and servant attitude. I see his creativity and love for music and sports. However, in him I also see all my struggles and shortcomings. He carries all the things of my life I wish I could easily fix. It's really hard not to control him, and in someway try to control myself.
One thing about Big, is that doesn't just wear his heart on his sleeve, He lives with all of his emotions draped over his body like overalls. You know how he feels about everything, ALL THE TIME. He shares passionately his opinions and attitudes. It's wonderful, unless it's annoying.
We have had a string of hard days. Him consistently and successfully pushing my buttons. Me, unable to let any little thing slide, pushing him and coming down hard on him. For the last two weeks, neither one of us have been each others biggest fan.
I went to pick him up from a birthday party, and it was just the two of us in the car at night time. We talked for a few minutes and then we quietly listened to music together. My mind wandered as I thought, "Is this it? The extent of our relationship? This is how it's going to be?"
I didn't like it.
I wanted more.
Before I could think, I pulled over and parked the car. I turned and looked at big and said, "Want to go explore with me?"
He looked completely and utterly confused. He looked around, nervous, and said, "It's nighttime and I have to go to bed."
I simply looked at him and said, "I know, but this will be special for us. Let's just go for a few moments and see what adventure we can have."
I was rewarded with a bright smile and giddy laugh, and knew this was what we needed. We needed a break from reality, from our routine. We needed to stop and pause and enjoy our life.
We live roughly a mile from the Mississippi and last year they erected a beautiful bridge that lights up the night sky when its dark. We were almost home, but felt like we were in another world as we crawled down the river bank under the bright blue lights of the bridge. Big held my hand and talked about the things we were seeing. He laughed as he said how much fun he was having and he thought it was weird that we were doing this, but kind of cool.
When we reached the river's edge, we sat on a rock and I pulled him to my lap. I wrapped my arms around and we sat in silence looking at the river move before us. We just sat there and listened to the cars driving overhead. We heard the crickets. We listened to the water move over rocks.
"I love you mom. Can this be our special spot for just you and me?"
That was my reward, one I am confident I didn't deserve after our two long weeks of not agreeing and having a hard time together.
I squeezed him and said, "Yes, Yes of course. Just you and me. Its our secret spot when we need time together."
We hugged and a few minutes in the biting cold, we walked back up to our car.
The whole thing was about 10 minutes long.
Time to absorb. To let that moment that will never happen again seep in the fabric of our memories and lives.
I went home and did dishes and worked on projects till midnight, and none of that I remember.
I remember that moment with my son.
I remember sitting around our Thanksgiving and even to the groans of everyone present I make us share what we are Thankful for. I want real moments to connect me to the people I love the most.
I remember the joy on my kids face and we laid down under our Christmas tree the night before we take it down to sing Christmas carols and say good bye to a magical season.
I remember the comfort I received from Scripture when I read and re-read a verse and before moving on, I let it sink in.
I absorb it.
It grounds me.
It reattaches me to the foundation of my existence. It reminds me that I am alive and not just going through the motions of my life. And it makes me want to embrace more of my life and see the joy in the mundane.
Sometimes we can't slow down.
But always. Always, we can stop, wait, and absorb a moment so we don't miss our life.
Soak something up today, and love it.