I’ve wanted to write this post since the day the babies were born. Maybe even before that frankly. I’ve always struggled with living in the moment-experiencing the present. I either dwell upon what could or should have been or worry over what might be. I practice yoga regularly and one of the best parts of the practice for me is the focus on the now. Right now. In fact, written on the floor in front of the studio it reads “Be here now”. I love that and I am committed to living a life that follows this mantra.
It’s been really hard with babies because every second feels like it’s flying by. I cannot tell you how many people have said something along the lines of “Before you know it, they’ll be grown” or “Enjoy every second it flies by” or “Just wait, in a flash you will be watching them get married”. I told my husband that I felt like I should never use the bathroom, or sleep or go for a run for fear I may miss these precious, apparently short lived moments. Of course the truth is, time is time. One minute is one minute. The four years after college stretch the same length as the four years out of high school, or when I was first born. Time is relative-sure I know that. One hour working out at my boot camp feels like a lifetime while an hour spent with a friend in town feels like only a second. Regardless, I have a hard time with the constant influx of commentary from obviously well-intentioned friends. I don’t know how to solve this issue and I’m sure as these babies grow older, people will continue to remind me of that fact. My mom, who is my role model in all shapes and forms, told me that I should counter these comments with “Well, before you know it, we’ll all be dead”. It reminds me so much of the movie “The Departed” when someone, speaking of his sick mother, says to the Jack Nicholson character, “Oh she’s not well, I fear she’s on the way out” and he says “We all are, act accordingly”. Is that a little rough to hear? Sure, but hell it’s that truth right?
Someone said the other day that the days with the babies feel like years and the years like days. In a lot of ways, that’s very true. Our daughter had a stomach bug this week and the days felt long and never ending and incredibly challenging. And yet, to think that my babies are six months old! Half of a year has passed since I delivered them?!
Which brings me to my last point. I have touched on this before and if you know me, and knew me while pregnant, you can confirm that I was not a happy camper. I complained pretty much non-stop. And yet, I long to be pregnant with these babies again with almost all of my heart. It feels good to have my body back and to be able to workout and build a sweat again, but I ache to rub my hands over my stomach and feel these little lives moving around. But then I look up and see them here. Actually here in this world in front of me. And I can’t believe that what I’m wishing for is to have them back inside. I hate to sound cliche, but of course hindsight is 20/20. I don’t think I took time while pregnant to really reflect upon the profound thing that was happening inside of me. I never had that moment of clarity and awe. I was too busy being sweaty and annoying and eating cheeseburgers. Why do I wish for the past? Why do I fear the future? Why oh why don’t I focus on breathing in and out of this moment and enjoy what is right this very second? This is a common human struggle and one that pisses me off to no end.
My maternal grandmother, one of the biggest badass women I’ve ever known, used to say to my mother “Never look back”. While she stopped there, I believe she also meant to “Never look forward” either. Look at what is here right now and dwell in each second that makes up the present. Delivering these babies and becoming a mother has made me so aware of the shortness of life and I’d be lying if I said that didn’t scare me-didn’t keep me up at night. But we have no ability to stop time or to press pause. Just as we have no ability to fast forward and skip ahead past the really tough times or rewind to an easier time. All that we can do is to live in the moment we are in. The choice we have is how we choose to experience the moment. So while our daughter continues to scream and our son continues to projectile vomit, I will aim not to dwell upon what is in front of me or miss what is behind me, but celebrate what is right that very second. Here’s to today.