Day 298/365 Be Here (and here and here…) Now

“You look as though you could use a minute to gather yourself,” my daughter’s piano teacher said to me as I somewhat breathlessly presented my daughter, ten minutes late for her lesson and without the instruction book we were asked to bring.

Indeed I could.

The two of them went off to the practice space while I plopped myself on her couch and exhaled.

As I sat, I felt my frenetic energy pulsing and swirling around me.

Granted, the past couple of hours had been particularly chaotic, as I had to scramble when suddenly plans changed and I found myself needing to be in two places at once (I still haven’t mastered that but I will let you know when I figure it out).

Still, I couldn’t blame my swirling mind entirely on that, for it had been running at a dizzying pace all day. I realized that within each moment I had been anticipating the next…and the next.

Some days are like that, I know…but I seem to struggle with this a lot.

I love the phrase BE HERE NOW.

I want to be present in my life, and yet on most days there are so many tasks strung together that I am often living in a constant state of anticipation. It feels as though if I’m not perpetually poised for the next thing, everything could be derailed…things will be overlooked, or forgotten…or I may even find myself needing to be in two places at once!

Wait a minute…

Hmmm….things still do get overlooked and forgotten…and I do still find myself needing to be in two places at once sometimes.

Sooo….maybe I am not actually helping myself at all by feeding my brain with the never-ending adrenaline rush of the “don’t fuck up” variety.

In fact, maybe if I stopped worrying so much about….oh I don’t know….ALL. THE. THINGS. I might even find myself being far more productive and even…(GASP) happier?

[Whoa.]

Worth a try.

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Day 296/365 Can You Still Hold Me?

“Pick me up,” said my soon to be nine year old daughter. She looked up at me and smiled.

It struck me that she hadn’t asked me to do that in a long time, and…that I didn’t know if I could. Something about the way she looked at me told me that she wondered the same –

Mom, can you still hold me?

Time is funny that way….you don’t notice it stealing from you until every so often, you do. 

I mean…I could, technically, pick her up. If, say, she were injured or in danger, I have no doubt that my mom-strength would kick in. I’d be able to lift her straight over my head if I needed to protect her.

Even in a non-emergency I guess I could…if I remembered to lift with my knees and to brace myself, but the truth is…

My baby…isn’t a baby anymore. 

I wondered when the last time was that I had easily and mindlessly hoisted her onto my hip while I multitasked.

The thief called Time is so stealth –  it lulls us to sleep with our busyness while it ever-so-gently eases our babies from our hips…untangles their fingers from our hair…and presents us with new versions of our most treasured beings.

We love them just as much, but we can’t help but search their faces for the babies they’ve replaced.

Mom, can you still hold me?

I was struck by the desire to drink her in…to notice everything about her…

To hold her…

Here, now…like this.

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Day 220/365 If Only

Last year at Christmastime I was feeling really low because my children were spending Christmas with their dad, and it was the first year (our third year being divorced) that the four of us did not open presents together on Christmas morning. It seemed like the right direction to go in for us, but it was hard.

I felt sorry for myself.

Two days after Christmas, my dad collapsed.  He never woke up.

As we have begun to adjust to life without him, I’ve thought about the holidays, of course, and how hard it will be to get through them this year, not only because it will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas without dad, but also because the anniversary of his death will be looming. We will all be thinking about him and missing him, of course.

Again, I have felt sorry for myself. (Sometimes I really need the lessons crammed down my throat).

Then, the Elephant arrived. Though I still haven’t shared what that is, exactly, I will share that the Harvey family won’t be thinking entirely about missing our dad, because we will be managing the Elephant, too.

And the Elephant sucks, but…

I am not going to feel sorry for myself anymore.

Do you know why? Because it is a waste of precious time and energy.

It hurts me to think that maybe I didn’t enjoy (what ended up being) my last Christmas with my dad as much as I should have, because I was so focused on what was wrong. I was so focused on what I was missing that I didn’t fully appreciate what I had.

Life is hard sometimes…but we have to make the best of it. Whatever it is that you are dealing with right now – the thing that seems really big and horrible – maybe it actually isn’t that bad.

Maybe it IS that bad. It might be.

But…

Either way, is it possible you will look back and realize that you wasted some perfectly good parts of your life because you were feeling sorry for yourself? That you missed some really good and important stuff because you were focused on the wrong thing?

It can be really hard sometimes to find, and focus on, the silver linings. It can take practice to sharpen our focus on the beautiful parts of our lives and to pull our attention away from the painful ones.

To retrain our lens.

I am going to do it though. I don’t want to look back on the holiday season – on ANY part of my life – and think…if only I’d known then what I know now.

If only I’d focused on the love and the gratitude, instead of on the loss and the worry.

If only.