“Living in the Moment”
by Marian Green
I have spent most of my life looking ahead. When I was five, I daydreamed of being a taller ten. When I was ten, I daydreamed of being curvy and fifteen. When I was fifteen, I daydreamed of being independent and twenty. When I was in my twenties, the daydreaming stopped.
With three young kids, I barely had time to sleep at night, much less stare out the window and whimsically imagine life. So I started daydreaming about theirs…
When they are walking… When they are weaned… When they are out of diapers… When they are in school… When they are reading on their own… When they are old enough for sleepovers… When they are in middle school… And then high school… And then driving…. I was forever looking ahead to the gifts of the next season that I missed some present moments.
To combat this temptation to look too far ahead, I started marking each season with a new word or mantra. The first year I did this, we had just made a cross-country move, were in the midst of an adoption, and had started homeschooling. I needed something to mark this season and so I prayed about it and decided upon flexibility. It was exactly what I needed in order to get our family rooted and growing in the new space.
The next season of life was marked by commitment. I needed to finish some thing I started—so that’s exactly what I did. Another was preparation—and just like a dormant seed winters before spring, this portion of our life was barren and sometimes lonely, but necessary for the next season of growth in our lives.
Today, we are in that next season and I have it marked with the word engaged. After thirteen years, I have started working from home as well as managing the home. It’s tempting to just mark things off my to-do list.
School with the boys
Sports with the teen
Homework with the daughter
Bath for the toddler
I get so consumed with finishing tasks for the people I love so that I can start on my work—which I also love. I find that I’m a frenzied mess, hopping from one thing to the next without any real engagement. If I’m not careful, I’ll miss this season. I’ll miss the changing of kids and the opportunity to take their family roots deeper. I’ll miss the preparation of their own lives before they blossom into adulthood. Who wants to look back and think, “I’m so glad I skipped his game so I could make that deadline?” Or, “I’m grateful I closed my home-office door so their constant giggling didn’t wreck my creative process?” Not I, I tell you. Not I.
As a kid, I only noticed two of the four seasons: Winter because it promised Christmas and my birthday, and summer because it promised a break from school. As a mom, I want to make sure I take all the seasons in. No more equatorial parenting—where every seasons blends with the next. Where everyday finds me hot-tempered. What can I do to resist the urge to look forward and miss the moment? Give the moment a name, and like a photograph of words that says, “Today exists.” In this way, I can look back and remember the Lord’s past lessons in my willingness to be fully present.
Marian Green is mama to five. She has her degree in Biblical Studies, serves in local church ministry alongside her husband, and writes on life and intimacy @ unprootedandundone.wordpress.com as well as promiscuityundone.wordpress.com.