Today was a pretty ho-hum day. Nothing out of the ordinary; nothing exciting. I got up, played with Luke for a bit, graded for awhile, drove Luke to my sister’s house, drove to school, taught, drove to another school, taught, drove back to the other school, prepped, taught, drove back to my sister’s house, ate, came home.
Today was going to be a difficult day to find something to be thankful for. I racked my brain all day: Am I thankful for this? For that? The answer was always the same: While I could be, it’s just not feeling genuine.
I even said to my sister tonight, “I don’t think I have anything to be thankful for today.”
“Be thankful it’s Friday,” she responded.
Well, that’s true. I am thankful it’s Friday. For some reason, it’s been a long week, and I’m exhausted. Having a weekend to not have to teach (though I still have to grade) is something to be thankful for. I left my sister’s house with something to be grateful for, even if it wasn’t the best idea and seemed a little contrived.
Then, however, on the way home, Luke kept calling out,”Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama.” As I looked in the rear view mirror, I noticed him reaching out his hands to me. This is his new thing. Whenever we drive somewhere, lately, he wants me to hold his hand. This is a difficult task. He sits in the back seat, so when I do it, my arm is stretched out way behind me and my shoulder begins to hurt within minutes. I also have a feeling this isn’t the safest way to drive. Plus, I drive a stick shift, so every time I have to change gears, I have to pull my hand away from his and he cries. The benefit, of course, is that he is comforted and happy.
But more importantly, as I was driving home, holding Luke’s hand, I felt so content and my mind was clear, focusing only on holding his little hand. It was one of those perfect moments. I felt so loved and needed by him, and I felt my mind stay quiet for a brief moment. I realized in those few minutes as I held his hand that him wanting and needing me was not going to last long. I think my daughter would rather eat rats than hold my hand in public, and it seems these days that she rarely needs my comfort anymore. She’s growing up, and it’s a difficult place for me–Mama–to be in. I want her to stay young and needy forever while at the same time encouraging her to grow up and be independent.Even if my arm got sore, I wasn’t about to complain; I know just how fast these moments fly by.
Not only did I appreciate this moment for the feeling of being needed and being able to comfort, I also appreciated this moment for the immediacy of it. Part of the reason I wanted to write this blog, other than to make myself notice and appreciate all I have in my life, was to “live in the moment.”
The truth is, though, I really despise this term, and while I know that there are guru type people out there who probably do “live in the moment,” I don’t know any of them. My mind is constantly cluttered with the past and the present. Even when I took a mediation class, my mind was constantly wandering. Oh, I know, I have to train my mind. Seriously, who has time for that?
It’s obvious that I haven’t figured this trick out.
But sometimes life slows down and for just a few minutes, I am “in the moment.” And it is that moment that I am thankful for. A little hand holding onto my bigger hand is a great way to end a long week.
P.S. The photo was not taken as we were driving. That would be dangerous! Can you imagine it: driving, holding Luke’s hand, trying to take a photo, and then shifting??? Throw in a phone call, and we’d all be in trouble.