living in the moment

“Is quiet time done yet?” my recently-turned-five-year-old shouted from his room.

“No.” I responded.

“Why not?” he wanted to know.

“Because it’s not yet three o’ clock.”

“I want it to be. Make time go faster,” he suggested. That pretty much sums up how we tend to look at life for the first few decades of life, doesn’t it? It was the same son who just today said, “When I was four, I wished I was five, but now I wish I was six.” I remember couldn’t wait for the day when I started kindergarten myself. Then I always thought it would be better if I were just a few years – or even just one year – ahead of wherever I was at the time.

“Why are parents sad when their kids grow up?” he asked last week as we were driving home from our morning volunteering gig. We’d been giving out coffee and bagels – and tissues – to parents on the first day of kindergarten at his brother’s school. We had just seen more than one teary-eyed, sniffling mom exiting the school building after dropping off a little one.

This does not make any sense to someone who sees adding one more year to his age as a most desirable thing. In the weeks since his birthday, he’s reminded us several times that he is now five. Once his big brother took the opportunity to point out, “You know, you were a premature baby so if you were born for real, you’d still be four.” But he’s not going to dwell on that. He’s five and if it were up to him, he’d be in school now, just like his big brother.

sept 10 2015
Photo courtesy of J. Gebeke via Twitter

I’m still guilty of wanting to fast-forward through seemingly unpleasant periods. (I can’t count how many times I’ve started a sentence addressed to my husband with, “When you’re done with graduate school…”) But as I’ve gotten older, I more often have the good sense to enjoy the moment we’re living, to savor it because it won’t ever be quite like this again. Who knows how much longer my son will hold my hand as we walk together? (Some days he already doesn’t want to.) Who knows how much longer it’ll be that my boys come to me first with nearly every question or random thought they want to share? Such are the gifts of this season.

here and now vs. some day

Last week my brother Tim called me as he was sitting in his semi truck, waiting for someone to finish loading the trailer so he could get on the road heading north.  He talked about his last stop and the waiting involved there too. “Life is waiting,” he concluded. I wrote it down.

As a parent, I too always seem to be waiting for something. First I waited for each of my boys to be born. Then I waited – and waited – for them to sleep through the night. We waited for them to smile, to crawl, to walk, to talk, to be done with diapers. Some days I look forward to evening, when they’re asleep and quiet overtakes our house.

Now, I’m waiting for them to take on more of the household chores, to learn how to read, to begin school, to play word games …

But it’s not waiting as in wishing for time to pass more quickly. It’s waiting as in looking forward to the future. And like my brother, I want to make the most of the waiting times. That means living in the moment and storing up memories. Like the memory of how my little one puts on his trousers: holding his foot in his hand and shoving it into the pant leg. Or how my five-year-old reads Wild Animal Baby magazine to his little brother.

What are you looking forward to?

Or what are you living this moment?