For 2017, the main resolution that I want to keep for myself is being more present and mindful. Life goes by so incredibly fast, and each moment that passes can never be brought back. There are so many things that I don’t want to forget that I’ve decided to keep a list for myself.
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon a blog post written by the mother of a teenager. I wish I had saved the link so I could share it here, but I was too busy trying to prevent myself from openly weeping in a room full of people to think of it at the moment, and now it seems to be lost forever in the vast expanses of the Internet. In her post, the woman talked about the interactions she has with her teenage son and how she is coming to terms with the fact that the odd grunt or sideward gaze is now their most common form of communication. Efforts to engage in conversation have been met with the typical teenage response, and she has learned that trying to force things is not the answer.
One image that hit me particularly hard was when she talked about how her son used to run into her arms upon getting home from elementary school, excited to share with her all of the things that had happened to him that day, and how different things were now that he was in high school. I pretty much had to stop reading at this point to take a few deep breaths so that I wouldn’t burst into tears in front of my friends and family. I started to think about my own son, and how I peek into the window of his day home when I pick him up and watch him play while I wait for him to notice that I’m standing there. It usually doesn’t take long before he spots me and comes running across the room to bang on the window, shouting, “Mama! Mama! Mama!”. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day.
I closed the article before finishing it because I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle the rest. My son is only 16 months old, and I thought that I was beginning to be okay with the fact that he is constantly growing and changing. In the first weeks and months of his life, this was a fact that had me bursting into tears at least once every few days, and my husband would have to try to comfort me by saying, “Babe, that’s what we want him to do, remember? To grow and be healthy. We should be thankful for this!” Over time, I have encouraged myself be more excited than tearful by all the ways that he shows us he is growing up, and I’m proud of myself for this.
After a few minutes of giving up reading the blog, I decided to go back to it to see how things ended. What other heartbreaking things would be in store for me as the mother of a teenager? Would it be as bad as (or worse than) I had imagined?
The writer finished her article on a hopeful note (thank goodness). She talked about how she has learned to embrace her son in all of his “teenagerness” and how much this has helped their relationship. Instead of wishing for the way things used to be, she is celebrating all of the amazing ways he has grown and become independent. Knowing that her son has accomplished so much and cheering him on as he ventures out into the world has actually brought them closer together. As she reminded herself not to go running and screaming towards him, showering him with kisses, after a win at his football game, she was pleasantly surprised when her quiet compliments were met with a big hug.
While I was definitely thankful that I had gone back to revisit the article since it ended the way it did, I was reminded of the fact that time goes by incredibly fast. With the arrival of the New Year and thinking about resolutions for myself, one that repeated itself over and over to me was the importance of spending my time mindfully. When my son has grown into a teenager and one day, a man, I want to be able to look back and remember all of the things that were special or amazing about him in each phase of his life. I want to remember specific moments and how they made me smile. What I don’t want to remember is all of the moments I missed because I was too busy scrolling through Facebook to notice that they had come and gone.
I want to try to notice things more. How is my son different today than he was yesterday? How have I changed?
I have decided that I want to start keeping a running list of all of the things about Beckett that I hope I don’t forget one day. It seems that we always think we will remember the little (and big) things, but as life marches on, the details get blurry. So I’m going to start writing a few things down each week, and every once in a while, I’ll share it with my son. I want him to know that I noticed. I want myself to know this too. Here’s what I’ve got so far.
I hope I don’t forget the way your face lights up when we come to pick you up from your crib in the morning.
I hope I don’t forget the way you started to sing the Pup Pup Boogie and waved your arms in the air when you saw a Paw Patrol book in the line up at the grocery store.
I hope I don’t forget the first time I watched you eat soup with a spoon, and hardly make a mess.
I hope I don’t forget the way you pull at my legs to make me turn around so I will pick you up so you can better see what’s cooking on the stove.
I hope I don’t forget the way you remind yourself to be gentle when you bury your face in our cats’ fur (and how much they hate this).
I hope I don’t forget how much you love puppies and how you always manage to spot every dog within a 500 foot radius, whether it is real or a picture, when we didn’t even notice it was there ourselves.
I hope I don’t forget the time you learned to say, “stuck” when we put you out in the snow in your puffy snowsuit, and how you learned to use this word when you’re stuck in other places.
I hope I don’t forget the way that your grandparents, great grandparents, aunts and uncles look at you and play with you, and the way you look at them.
I hope I don’t forget the last time you gave your great grandma a kiss.
I hope I don’t forget the funny way you say the word “banana”.
I hope I don’t forget the times you give me a kiss without me having to ask.
I hope I don’t forget the way you go looking for a brush when you come into our room, so you can proudly comb your hair.
I hope I don’t forget how crazy you get when you’re having a bath.
I hope I don’t forget what a privilege and blessing it is to be your mom.
I hope that knowing I want to fill this list with as many things as possible will help me be more mindful and present when I’m spending time with my son. I think that I could make a list like this just for life in general. What are the moments that my husband and I share that I don’t want to forget? What moments with my parents, grandparents, in-laws, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, pets and friends do I not want to forget? What moments have I had on my own that made me feel proud or happy?
What moments do you hope you won’t forget this week? I’d love to hear them in the comments!