When Little Huck was a few days old, one of my facebook friends shared this outstanding article, Notes From A Dragon Mom. If you haven't read it, I encourage you to do so now. If you have already read it, take a few minutes to go through it again. I truly believe it is that important. I mentioned the age of my son because this article moved me beyond words. There I was sitting at my computer, fresh into postpartum, holding this beautiful miracle against my chest, with tears literally falling down my cheeks. Suddenly, life was more precious than ever before.
The author blew me away by pointing out that all parenting advice is geared toward the future. I never realized that before. You discipline your child so that she will grow into a responsible, well-behaved individual. You feed her the right foods so she will grow to be healthy and strong. You teach her the alphabet so she will learn how to read someday. You gently correct her language errors so she will learn how to talk properly. The list goes on.
But this mother's story broke my heart. In a beautiful way. She showed the importance, if not the necessity, of living in the moment. If there is no distant future, then there is only now. It's not about what will happen years down the road. It's what is happening at this very instant.
That's not to say you should feed your child junk food all day because it makes her happy, or empty your savings on expensive toys. But as parents, we all know the little things we could do to appreciate life and how precious it is. It could mean letting the messy house slide just a little longer and instead sit on the couch to read books together. It could mean letting your child eat turkey for her 9th meal in a row instead of pushing the veggies. It could mean stop washing the dishes and picking up the whining toddler hanging on your legs. Or, it could mean doing something very special as a family. It could be saving up and taking a beautiful vacation together.
I hold Huck and tell him all the time, "You don't have to grow up. You can stay small forever. I'll take care of you." I wish he would listen better than his older sister did. We've all heard it a million times, but time goes by way too quickly. If you're a parent reading this, promise yourself that you will take today to just treasure the moments. Our babies will only be this way for a short while. Maybe forget about "goals" and just appreciate what they can do now. Cherish the cuddles, the kisses, the boogers, the baby talk or toddler babble. Don't worry about the future. Just love them today.