First, Be Present…

Jumping into Writealm.com’s November Prompt-a-Day.  I’m a couple of days behind, and read the first two prompts (1. First, 2. Be present) as one: First, be present.

You have to show up. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.

In parenting, being present is the biggest challenge I have ever faced. I am prone to navel-gazing, being preoccupied with things to come, or just liking to focus on something until it is complete. Children, they demand your presence in ways that are non-linear and immediate. You must pay attention to THIS. RIGHT NOW. And then you must pay attention to THIS OTHER THING! RIGHT NOW. It is enchanting, fascinating and undeniably exhausting.

The days when I reach the end and find myself shaking my head an wondering what they heck just happened, or feeling like I have failed miserably, are the days when I am caught up in the “shoulds” of what I think needs to happen.  What I should do to be a good parent, or what I think my kids should have. It leaves me seeing only what I lack, rather than what these bright, shining children have to show me each and every day. It is breathtaking to feel like I lost a whole day to pushing a boulder up the wrong hill.

When I remember to be present, to watch and engage, to encourage and listen, I’m still exhausted at the end of the day, but in a way that feels rewarding and like good work was done. For this month, I think that perhaps “First, Be Present” is going to be a daily reminder. Especially as we get into the holidays and things get wound up tightly. Especially as my husband may have to go on a business trip. Especially as the rain sets in and we are stuck inside more.

Most importantly, so I don’t feel like I lost another day to seeing only what I think should be rather than what is.

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