Saturday, May 18, 2013

Savor the Moment




When my kids were babies, the old ladies at the grocery store always had the same advice for me: savor every minute, because you will not believe how fast this time goes. And I did! Or I tried. Some moments are truly not to be savored, of course; like the time our dog decided diapers were a cuisine. Or the weeks of hellacious colic. Or when my poor nipples became teething toys. BUT. The moments of cuddling the sweet, sleepy child, with her milk-breath and her fat cheeks ... watching my son and daughter discover each other as playmates ... and all the unexpected moments of real hilarity you get when a human being discovers language (see Pizza on the Cob): these things I did savor. I treasured those moments as if moment-treasuring were an Olympic sport. I would have one child nursing in a sling, the other pressed up against me as I read a book, and think: I'm savoring! I am savoring! Dammit, I'm savoring as hard as I can!

And still, the kids grew up.

Wait, what?

That's the thought that came out of nowhere the other day, shocking me with its illogic: I did all that treasuring and savoring and I couldn't stop them from growing up. I mean, look at them. They're twenty feet tall with opinions and weird feet. Half their text messages are from the opposite sex. All our mail is from colleges. How did I let this happen?

Somehow, I must have picked up on the message (written in regret on the grandmothers' lined faces) that by savoring a moment, I'd stop it from passing. I could avoid the tragic story I heard underneath their advice: my children left, they never call, I'm all alone. There's a sense of reproach in their admonition to "savor" my children's childhoods, as if it's only by inattention those childhoods can pass.

So that's my grand realization of the day: the moment will pass, whether we savor it or not.

“You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by.”  ~James M. Barrie


10 comments:

  1. Well, my love. I can honestly say I do not know how to respond to this. Is that weird?

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    1. And your speechlessness has rendered me speechless!

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  2. Yes, all those wonderful moments pass, but it's kinda like the saying about how it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. The more we savor those moments, the more we remember and treasure them later. Besides, savoring grandchildren is even better!

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    1. I am already looking forward to grandchildren, although I do hope it's another decade at least till that happens! I love the idea of cuddling sweet babies that are a little bit mine, but that I can hand off at the end of the day. :D

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  3. What beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    Not to get too philosophical on you, but my readings and research of eastern philosophy have all boiled down to one ever-important lesson: the root of all suffering is in attachment. I.E. by refusing to let go of those wonderful moments, we suffer. Likewise, by trying to secure them at the cost of organic moments (even the bad ones) we suffer. And by trying to select only the savor-full moments at the exclusion of all the others, we suffer.

    Now, being able to live free of attachment- well, that's where all the meditation and mantras and enlightenment-enhancing activities come into play. It ain't easy, but it is possible. I can't argue that the things young adult children do are as cute or heartwarming as the things they did when they were young, but I can argue that they're just as valuable.

    Transitioning from traditional mom to mom of grown children is a long process full of growing pains (on both sides) but oh so worth it. So my advice is to keep savoring. Savor till the day you die. And know that every moment- even the bad ones- are worth your full attention.

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    1. Very good advice, Beverly! I once took an 8-week mindfulness meditation course. Probably I need to revive some of those habits, especially now that I'm heading into the everything's-changing aspect of my life.

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  4. I think that trying to live in the moment is the secret, of course it is much easier said than done.

    Good post.

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  5. Stephanie, it is right to savor their childhood, and you have done your job as a parent well. It would be sad indeed if the children didn't grow up & try their own wings. It's a happy thing that they are going off to college. And now you can savor them as young adults. No regrets. :)

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    1. I agree, Kerry! I enjoy my kids more with each passing year. When each went to kindergarten, I was the only mom who didn't cry: I was excited for them, and ready for the new phase. Which is one reason I was so startled to find myself thinking those thoughts.

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