August 14, 2008

The Good Life

Toby is over five months now. The time is really flying by. I find myself getting more emotional when I look over his newborn pictures. I think its partly due to my overactive motherly feelings and partly due to a recent eye-opening experience. You know what I am talking about - the ones that kind of take you by surprise and make you re-think what you value in life and how you prioritize your time. The ones that make you realize that the most important thing in life, doesn't have a price tag, but is often cheapened and left by the wayside by our pursuit for the things that do have one. Its something we all take for granted at one time in our life or another, either because of our finite vision or because of our distraction (and sometimes obsession) with the alluring material items that we think will bring us eternal joy. The one thing that will outlive and has the ability of bringing so much more lasting happiness than all the shiny, new BMW's and beautifully, landscaped mansions in the world is within arms reach: FAMILY.

The moment came when I was discussing the hardships of parenting with my older brother, Tim. We were talking about how easy it is to get caught up in the tomorrows of our life and wanting our kids to grow up faster. I should add that Tim already has 3 kids and is working on his Masters - so he knows all too well how I feel when I talk about my impatience with my current circumstances.
But even when I was single, I always found myself saying: "Now when I get married, life will be complete and wonderful. " And now that I am married, life is pretty sweet, but I am still constantly battling this futuristic mindset of: "When we have a house, or when Toby is older, or when we don't have to eat Macaroni and Cheese and hot dogs for dinner anymore, then life will really be easy and then I will truly be happy."

But I am finding this mindset not only to be a huge fallacy but very dangerous. Thinking that your happiness rests within the next milestone or promotion or vacation, can seriously rob you of appreciating and relishing the small but meaningful every day moments. Moments, I may add, you can never get back. Sure, there are times where life is dull and seems mundane and yes, it can even feel downright depressing and hopeless. But I have recently discovered the trick is to not let those darker moments overshadow the beautiful, priceless ones. Its just like one of my favorite leaders of the L.D.S. faith has said: "We perhaps need to snatch happiness in little pieces, learning to recognize the elements of happiness and then treasuring them while they last." (President James E. Faust).

So just a few hours ago, after I gave Toby his nightly bath, instead of looking at the clock and thinking about how much longer I had until he goes to bed, I decided I needed to just "live in the now" (a favorite movie quote of mine). I busted out the camera and had little photo shoot with him because I've noticed there aren't very many pictures of just Toby and me- if any - on this blog. So while we cuddled and made silly faces at each other, I suddenly felt how very precious these moments were. Someday he will probably try to squirm away from me and go after a toy instead. Someday he will want to have a sleepover at his friends house. Someday he'll be staying out late to go to the high school dance. Someday his parents won't be his entire world. It was then when I really tried to drink in the moment. I looked at him as if it was for the first time. I tried to remember his little giggles and squeals and the way his eyes lit up when I pulled him close and gave him a kiss on his chubby little cheek. When I rocked him to sleep, I held him just a little longer before setting him in his crib. And as I stared at him peacefully sleeping, an overwhelming feeling of pure joy and love for my life took over. I knew in that moment, my life was complete and rich and so much more wonderful than I was allowing it to be. Now if only I could live each day with a such a perspective.
Perhaps that is one of the greatest challenges of our mortal lives - living each day as if it was a gift and not just a list of "to-do's" and "somedays" .

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Anonymous said...

All I can say about your latest post is - Wow. I know in the past you were interested in writing...I think you are already a writer.

You are so good at sharing the depth of emotion you feel. I, in my detached mode of 'just getting through each day' cannot possibly imagine writing with such abandon. I admire your ability to open your heart and express feelings so clearly.
One more thing - Toby is sooo cute! :)


V said...

Amen Debbie. You said that all so beautifully. Thanks for reminding me of a great truth. I think it will always be a struggle to live life in the moment, but I know we can try.

You really reminded me of so many good moments in my life. Thanks for sharing. You are an awesome example to me.

Tim & Jodi said...

Bravo Mom (Deb)...........bravo indeed.