Every other week, my friends and I who are on group chats together, will send little videos that pop up in our memories or time hops from when our kids were infants and toddlers. Those adorable games of peek-a-boo that went on forever, or the infamous "claw" that would have them all in hysterics brings a sense of joy, but also a touch of sadness. Because when we were in those actual moments, we weren't 100 percent present. We were worried about a meeting we had to make, or how we still hadn't lost the baby weight. We fretted over what's for dinner or how our child screamed in the store. We stressed about a missed PTA email or how the laundry was piling up and we still had no idea what to make for dinner.
The concept of "Being Present" while your kids are little is tough. Throughout the toddler years of my boys, I felt a cycle of guilt. In the back of my mind, I always had this voice, telling me to be present. But my brain told me to focus on the things that would help our family and home function on a better level. Is the playroom picked up? Are the dishes in the sink done? Did everyone get a bath and teeth brushed?
Throughout the last year, as my kids have grown, being present is just as hard of a task, considering the new found activities, sports and school work. I decided that letting go of a lot of the things I thought were important was key to playing a more present role in my family and with my friends.
This month, "Be Present" is my focus. Each day, as I move through the ordinary, exciting, the stressful and the mundane, I will make the choice to put down my phone, leave the laundry to pile up, and be in the now with my people. That may mean a game of Super Mario Bros. with my boys when I really have a writing deadline, or it may mean taking the time to invite a friend to coffee who I know needs to get a lot off her shoulders.
Being present in life comes in many forms. From being an active participant in our children's lives to being engaged in our own. Taking those extra few moments in the morning to thank God for the blessings in my life, and to pray for those who need it.
And as we approach Valentine's Day, it's the perfect time to approach being present with the ones you love, making the time necessary to show them you care. This could be sending a note to a friend you haven't seen in a while letting them know you're thinking of them, or a simple phone call. The act of connecting with others is the essence of being present. And making the decision to take the time to play an active role in the now will make each experience that much more genuine. So as you move through February, focus on being front row in your movie of life.