“What day is it?”
It’s today,” squeaked Piglet.
My favorite day,” said Pooh.”
― A.A. Milne
I have been through the wringer lately, a story I will share with you another time. But, the experience has taught me to truly treasure the present moment. To open my eyes and take in every little detail I can, and recognize that once a moment is gone, it’s gone forever.
I tended to live in the past and the future a lot. I would constantly agonize or chastise myself over past events. I’d go over and over the event in my head, making a list of what I did wrong, what I could have done, what I could have said, how a different outcome could have affected my present day life.
And I’d do what’s known as “future tripping.” I agonize over what will happen to me and to my loved ones 10 years from now, 5 years from now, 1 year from now, in the next hour, whatever. And I was always in Worst Case Scenario mode. So, one moment I’m signing a permission slip for my older son to go to the museum, and the next, I’m imagining him having an untimely and grisly death in a giant bus crash. Ridiculous, I know. But, this is how my mind, namely my anxious personality, works.
I’ve learned how to deal a little better with all of that. To tell myself to just CTFD and sit with my feelings as I am having them, here and now. And to enjoy the precious time I have with my boys while they are young. I can already see that portions of Bowie’s “babyness” have gone away for good. He is maturing. Slowly now, but it will pick up pace. I can almost imagine him as a teenager now.
And as my boys have been on summer vacation, I’ve found myself wanting to flit and fly here and there with them, and just experience everything we can. Do what we want, when we want to. The moments are even more precious, now that I’m working part time. It’s only a few shifts a week, but that’s 3 or 4 bedtimes I’m missing, chances to wish them happy dreams and tell them I love them before they drift off.
I’ve learned outings with them don’t have to be huge productions. Full days at the museum, complete with dropping a small fortune on lunch there, and making sure to see every single exhibit.
These days, I’m content to sit and watch them run along the beach. Or go to the museum, see one thing, and when Bowie says he wants to leave, I say okay. Or we hit up the park with friends from school. Or we sit on the couch and read books together. This simple stuff fills my cup as much as any grandiose and overly complicated planned-out day.
And I’ve realized that it’s ok if they get dirty. If their clothes get dirty. If they have ice cream too close to supper time. If they fall asleep in my arms late in the day and I know bedtime will be a bitch, I let them snooze anyway. I soak up that beautiful moment and bank it away. I’d rather have memories of them laughing and having fun and being kids, than having to be the “don’t play in the mud”, “no sugary treats before dinner”, “it’s 7:oo, you should already be sleeping” mom.
A lot of people, especially older people, will tell you to “enjoy every minute” with your kids because “it goes by so fast.” Well, duh. But, this is about more than just my kids. It’s about enjoying moments with my husband. Sitting next to each other on the couch, making fun of Naked and Afraid contestants, sharing ice cream from the pint. This isn’t “special”, really, but I know in 20 years it sure will be.
And it’s about me too. Personal fulfillment. Not acting like a new day is something to be endured, but instead something to be enjoyed, and filled with purpose. I got a part time job. I have met new people. I enrolled in school to become a Vet Tech. I am reaching out to family more. I am making something of each day, and at the end of the day, I feel accomplished and satisfied. I used to feel like I was crawling to bed every night, and I didn’t know how I could get through yet another day. I read something somewhere (I can’t accurately give credit) that said basically that the phrase “tomorrow is another day” to a person with depression or anxiety is not a promise, but rather a threat. And I know that was true for me.
But, with the help of therapy, medication, supportive loved ones, and my will to carry on, I’m enjoying today. I’m not listening to yesterday and I’m not afraid of tomorrow.