What if I wrapped my hands around this moment?
There are some moments that are so deeply sweet and wonderful that they conjure a natural quality of slowness. I linger. If I move too quickly, I worry that I will push the memory away, lose it in the rush of the day. I was organizing clothes in my daughter’s room and my kiddo went into my wife and my bedroom, climbed onto the bed and laid down. I heard her babbling and kicking her legs on the mattress. She laid there for a long time. When I came in, she patted the bed next to her indicating she wanted me to lay down and snuggle with her. I wondered if she’d been in here waiting for me while I was busy in the next room? We laid on the bed next to each other, making high pitched happy noises, snuggling, squishing our faces, nuzzling foreheads, holding each other’s hands and giving love squeezes. The beauty and sweetness of it was painful. Before becoming a parent, I had no idea I’d feel so much constant physical sensation in my heart. It throbs, grows, hurts, glows, and breaks every day.
Why is the sweetness so painful? Is it because I know it’s temporary? I want to know how to hold onto this moment. How do I capture it and place it in a jar like sand from a beach? Is there a stone on the ground I can pick up and place in my pocket as a momento? Would a momento ever be enough? How do I hold on to these beautiful moments that keep passing by.
Last night I went to a yoga class. As the practice began the teacher mentioned to the class that she had a rough day. She dealt with it by imagining herself as a reed that emotions blow through and then move on. She reminded herself that everything is temporary. I have certainly had days when this story would be helpful to me. I’d feel relieved to know that the shitty day I had at work was small and passing. However, that wasn’t the day I had. I had a day where I snuggled on my bed with my kid giving love squeezes and forehead nuzzles. As she said “this is temporary,” my eyes welled with tears. I don’t want this to be temporary. I want to live those few minutes over and over again.
In the first few months after my daughter was born, there were days it felt like every person at the grocery store told me “it goes by so fast” and “enjoy every moment.” It annoyed me. I am introverted, so the number of strangers that approached me was stressful and off-putting. I also have a teenage-like aversion to unsolicited advice. However, I realize this advice was offered simply because these people were also parents that had days where they snuggled their little ones, giggling and hugging and wondering how to hold onto that moment forever.
What does it mean to “enjoy the moment”? What if I wrap my hands around a moment so tight that my knuckles turn white and my fingernails mark my palms? Is that enjoying the moment? What if I want to dig my heels in and stay there, refusing to go any further like a stubborn mule? Why can’t I reach my hand up to the kitchen clock and stop the minute hand from moving forward?
I know the universe has its rules about these things. Time will move forward and no trick will bend or freeze it. I understand the very reason these moments are so sweet is because they are passing. If the sweetness lasted forever it just wouldn’t taste as sweet.
Another reason I disliked strangers telling me about how fast the time goes and to enjoy every moment was that it added so much pressure to everything. What if I blinked? What if I missed something? What if I had a hard day and I’m sad or mad? Don’t I get to have a hard day? All those things have happened. I have missed things. I have closed my eyes and opened them to see that my daughter grew an inch and no longer needs to hold my hand to climb the ladder at the playground. I have had many, many hard and sad days that made me grateful that time moves forward and all is temporary. I blinked. But, I still manage to eke out some sweetness.
The goodness doesn’t slide by unnoticed. And, I think that’s a pretty good goal. I might not be savoring every moment I’m around my child. But I have these moments where I can see the good as clear as crystal. I feel my heart become warm and full and my throat swell. I whisper “thank you” to whatever might be listening, even if it’s just my own heart. Thank you.