This pictures depicts a joyful moment with my girls, basking in each other’s company on a blanket at the park. We played outside all day – picnicking, reading, running, laughing, being.
Letting go of distractions is easy for me during the, relaxed, schedule-free days of summer.
On a school morning, when the clock is ticking, it’s harder.
On school mornings, I have to work to center myself. I’m wired speedy, so I work to stay in the moment and will my mind to stop dashing three steps forward.
My inner voice whispers, sometimes screams, slow down. You have time. So I take heed and start each day with a meditation: You have the time. Take the time.
Knowing I am wired to go!!, I deliberately slow down the daily routine to savour the present.
Knowing my tendencies, I pause to create daily habits that build relationships with those around me.
The morning can be a time for distraction or a time for connection. It’s your choice each and every day.
Here are two simple ways to get started:
- Wake up early, before anyone else is up: By getting a head start, you can set your mindset into a pattern of peace and tranquility — it lessens the atmosphere of rushing. Here’s how waking up first, helps me stay present.
- Prepare the night before: Pack lunches, pick out clothes, prepare backpacks, sign notes, take a shower .. do whatever it is that you need to do. Taking even ten minutes at night, cuts down on the morning need for speed.
Ten minutes of preparation is like money in the bank. The brief time spent at night, opens up time you can spend with your family in the morning.
I started carving time out last December. Before, I hit snooze again and again, until I had to get up. And I often felt tense, pressed for time.
Sandy Hook changed that for me.
In the aftermath of the tragic Sandy Hook school shooting, I poured over the unthinkable stories of the kids, the teachers, the families … searching … digging for the human element to hold onto. I found it over and over again, but one father’s recollection really connected with me.
Mark Barden, spoke of the morning of the shooting, the last moments with his son, Daniel:
“On the morning of the 14th, I was walking James down the driveway. It was still dark at 6:20, and we hear little footprints behind us on the driveway. And Daniel had gotten up and realized that the house was dark and empty and that we were on our way to the bus, and he ran down the driveway with his pajamas and with his little flip-flops on so he could hug and kiss his brother goodbye. That’s the only time that ever happened. …
He and I came back into the house, and I said: “Look, the sun’s not even up. You can go back to bed and sleep some more if you want.” And he said, “No, Daddy, now we have more time for cuddling.” So that’s what we did.
We got on this couch right here and we cuddle. Goofed around and played, and then he noticed out that window that the sky was starting to become all red and orange, and the Christmas tree was over there, and he said: “Look, you can see the reflection of the Christmas tree lights in the window with the [sunrise] behind it. Isn’t that beautiful?”
It was beautiful, and so I went and got the camera and took a picture of it. So we have this picture with that window with that Dec. 14 sunrise and just a few little lights of a Christmas tree.”
It tears at my soul. I read it and want to hug my girls, and never let go.
But we have to let go.
So after that day, I made sure to set aside time in the morning to snuggle with my girls when they first get out of bed. I prepare so when 6:30 rolls around, I am able to pour myself a cup of coffee, sit at the kitchen table with V and chat as she eats her oatmeal. (I repeat with my youngest when she gets up).
If I’m feeling rushed, I set the timer on the microwave for ten minutes to help me let go. This act enables me stay fully present until the timer beeps, and then some.
These are precious moments.
Last week I read the article 20 ways to get closer to your child today at AhaParenting, and gathered more ideas.
Have a read and please share your favorite. Or choose one or two and start today.
Do you have time to hold hands an extra minute today?
Do you have time to skip to the bus stop?
Do you have time to freeze, and look into your child’s (spouse’s, friend’s, student’s) eyes while she shares what’s on her mind?
Yes, you do! You always do.
Take the time today. It’s all you have. There is always time for your life’s priorities.
P.S. My favorite story about reassuring love when the world feels a little scary is The Kissing Hand. If you haven’t read it, it’s a must!
Ciao for now.