Enjoy the now and embrace the present moment

by Mary Ann on April 13, 2011

mom daughter hug pics

Marie and Aubry

I had only two children left at home, Kate who was ten and Barry who was 17. We were on the home stretch, so to speak, in our parenting.

Then Marie, our third daughter, her husband and one year old came to live with us. They stayed for one year while Dan went to school. I should have been delighted. In fact I was delighted to have Aubrey and my daughter with us but I wasn’t happy to have sticky fingerprints all over my furniture again, globs of food on the floor, diapers in the garbage… I remember how frustrated I would get. I deserved a clean, orderly, Better Homes and Garden house! That was a long time ago.

Thinking about that time got me to remembering the importance of the above topic, enjoy the now and embrace the present moment.

Now I can have that Better Homes and Garden space. I have no babies or toddlers or even small children who live here. It is interesting that I actively seek these small people out and have them over quite often. I again have sticky finger prints on the furniture, globs of food on the floor and diapers in the garbage pail. I like it. My response is that furniture and floors wash and so do garbage pails.

colorful plastic plate picture

LOVE that plastic ware!

In my cupboard, when I was raising my seven children, was an odd assortment of plastic ware. I hated plastic ware. I wanted glass glasses and glass dishes. I started out with both but over time we finally settled on plastic ware. It holds up longer. As soon as I could I changed it out for glass ware.

I just visited Ikea recently and purchased some plastic ware. I bought bright pink, green, red and yellow dishes with matching cups. I feel a deep satisfaction when I open the cupboard and see them knowing the sweet little people that will come over and use them.

When you have seven children you have a lot of toys and games. It seems like the parts and pieces are everywhere. I longed for cupboards that didn’t contain either one. Just the other day I commented to my husband, “Honey we need to refurbish the toy cupboard and get some new games.

In my church in Montana, before we moved to Utah, I spent a lot of time teaching the kids in Primary and the youth. I thought how great it would be to be with adults and teach them. I love teaching adults. The topics are interesting and challenging.

Preschool Children picture

Children are interesting and challenging

I have gone to my current church for over 8 years now. I have been teaching adults the whole time. It is a fairly prestigious calling and I really enjoyed it. Then a few months ago I was asked to teach the 5-6 year olds in Primary. I like it even better. Trust me there is no prestige. In fact you sort of get lost in the church basement. However, I really, really enjoy it. The children are interesting and challenging!

Don and I, after about our 35th year of parenting, began to look forward to being just us too again. That finally happened last spring when our last child left home. She was 20. Don frequently says now, “We haven’t seen the grandkids for a couple of days. When are they coming over”? He has even volunteered to watch them so their mom can do errands. We like having them here. In fact we have had the neighbor kids in to make cookies and do crafts.

When you are raising children stuff gets broken. Lots of stuff gets broken. I used to wish that I could just have something nice that wouldn’t get broken. Couldn’t we just have a few things that weren’t bent, spindled or mutilated?

We are careful. We teach our grandchildren and neighbor kids to be careful but they are small and they are learning so stuff breaks. Now when something breaks Don and I look at each other and realize it is just stuff and stuff can be replaced.

kissing baby picture

Slobbery kisses from children are amazing!!

When I had my fifth child I had a business and a business partner. She was younger than I and had no children. One day we were at a meeting all day. She watched my 8 month old walk all over me, tangle sticky fingers in my hair, spit up milk on my skirt and so forth. She said, “Gee, I see what is happening now. I always just thought you were kind of a slob.” Amazing! I wanted to look fresh and starched and clean.

I have a neighbor who has a 2 year old. She comes to visit and talk. Her little Ryan is all over her with his feet and cracker crumb hands and sticky kisses. I work really hard to get him to hold my hand and give me a hug. I want some of those cracker crumbs and a bit of the sticky.

Back in the early days of parenting I got so tired of hearing “mommy”. Some times I felt that if I heard it one more time that day I would scream. My 21 year old sometimes says mommy. It is thrilling to hear, the sweetest sound of all. It makes me tear up thinking about it!

Time moves on and perspective does change things. We can have fewer regrets if we take care of the important things first, if we understand and accept the season of life we are in; if we are present and see our children, really see them; if we focus on what we are doing, loving and teaching wonderful people.

hand print image

A perfect little hand

Clean shiny windows will never be as beautiful as the window with a perfect two year old hand print right in the middle. (Oh yes, that happens here and we leave them for a good long time before we wash them away.)

Don’t get me wrong, my grandchildren can wear me out, especially if I have them all day or if they stay overnight. But understand that what bugs you now will be the very things that you will most joyfully embrace later. So why not embrace them now. You will be happier, your children will be happier and it will help you see them more clearly and enjoy them more.

Many things that matter to you now may not matter in 20 years so don’t let them ruin today’s peace and joy. Enjoy the now and embrace the present moment.

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