“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. “~Thornton Wilder
I am back to keeping a gratitude journal and happy to report that it is easier than ever to generate a long list from a life that is full of moments to cherish. It is in fact the simplest of things that truly make us happy and most of them I realize over and over again exist within the context of the relationships that define our life.
I spent over a decade of my life raising babies and small children. Those days were often exhausting with four babies, toddlers and preschoolers all needing something at almost the same moment. Early childhood is a celebration of wonder, a feast of frustration mixed with and the occasional opportunity to save your child’s life. It is an intense time of connection, dependency and physical intimacy that involves training ever body orifice and is fed by healthy doses of affection and holding time. It is physically exhausting in a way that makes you old and keeps you young.
My babies are now somewhere between early adolescence and early adulthood. It catches me off guard how much time and energy my growing children still require. I count myself lucky mind you, that they want me to see them at every basketball game and even more so, that they seek me out when things aren’t working for them emotionally. They want to process their changing mind, and learn to apply meditation practice to their anxiety. My growing brood of kids are the people I most want to spend time with and I am grateful that our relationship is able to grow and change with them.
This weekend I was immersed in mothering them. My older kids were home with their friends. Our house was alive with relating – every room full of animated conversation and laughter. Every room full of sleeping kids which I still find calming and satisfying.
I used to struggle about the time I gave up to my kids when they were younger. I longed for time to myself and hours I could dedicate to my own interests. Not so much anymore. Now I am grateful for every afternoon that is dedicated to our relationship. I know how short a distance it is, a decade of growing up. Before long my youngest will be gone more than they are at home.
I treasure the connecting we get in these years as I know that it is the foundation for the letting go that is its twin. It was my oldest daughter who captured the essence of the situation today when she said: “The more you realize how everything is changing all the time, the more grateful you become for the moment you have with someone right now today… you don’t take it for granted.” Exactly.