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My One New Years Resolution

December 30, 2009

Sometimes I long to press pause, yank the needle off the spinning record, and slow the forward march of our lives. If I could stop the galloping of time, perhaps I’d always have one hand on the curve of Rose’s full moon belly or be perpetually blinded by the bright skyline of Col’s baby-tooth smiles. I’d forever know how the kids fit perfectly on my hips, as if we were all carved from the same chunk of clay.

But this is not the way of things. Rose’s belly will stretch into a flat knock-off of its former self. Col’s baby pearls will clunk out leaving awkward spaces, and his lean body will inch taller until my hips post a sad sign stating “no occupancy.”

But I believe there is an antidote to this melancholic longing, this grasping of a particular moment so tightly that my fingers ache. And this antidote is my one New Year’s resolution. It is the same resolution I will make every year, every day, until I’m driving the kids off to college, or to the Grateful Dead Revival Tour, or likely until they’re carting their boisterous grandchildren into my odd-smelling nursing home.

And this one wish, my quiet hope, is to be present with these children, to enjoy this very short time we have together.

This means, when I’m reading The Lorax to the kids for the eleventy-fifth time this week—overdue and accruing library fines like Colorado dust on our ceiling fans—that I won’t be plotting e-mails or dinner plans. I will be aware enough to notice how Rose’s eyes widen when The Lorax first appears on page 10, her eyelids rising into creamy crescent moons. I will breathe in Col’s childlike awe, his marveling at the pure wizardry of reading: the way illustrations, words and a voice bring a story to life.

This means that when the kids are away from me, I will let them be away without guilt, enjoying our separation. And when they are with me, there will still be laundry to fold and meals to cook. But when we’re all sprawled on the floor playing the animal matching game, I will really be there.

I will fail at this resolution, daily. I will sing Col his nightly lullaby and miss the moment his eyelids flutter closed like a bird landing on a branch because I am thinking about rocky road ice cream in our freezer. When the afternoon is yawning into the dark expanse of evening and Col is zipping rubber bands across the room maniacally and Rose is flinging herself into a boneless puddle of despair because I won’t let her have a cough drop, I will sigh and hiss and wish I could bend time forward with my mind.

I will forget this resolution when we’re at the pool, peeling cold, soggy bathing suits off our bodies, and Col and Rose are flipping the locker room light switch on and off as if scratching an itch.

But every now and then I will remember. While holding Rose’s shuddering, hiccupping body as she cries over a cough drop, instead of wishing she were tougher, or different, I will embrace her small, hopeful body. I will hear, through the sniffles, her brave heart tapping out its pattern of life, this life that I love so much.

And I will try again tomorrow.


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26 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle permalink
    December 30, 2009 10:45 am

    So beautiful, this brought tears to my eyes. You’ve inspired me to try and be more mindful during the many meltdowns here, I will take on this resolution with my two crazy little guys.

    Love the photo!

  2. December 30, 2009 11:31 am

    Oh you have such an amazing way with words! This is the eternal struggle of motherhood for me. I want to be oh so present through it all, even the numeral tantrums per day, but my own programming tells me otherwise. I get down about it because I love these moments of my children being young and with me and will be very sad when they are not here any longer. If I could start with once per day, of being aware and present through a rough patch, and have it grow, then maybe by the time my kids are leaving to follow their own hearts desires, I will have it down pat…and they will come home to me more often. Beautiful!


  3. Ellen permalink
    December 30, 2009 12:17 pm

    lovely post. May all parents savor the sweet presence of their little ones…and may we all appreciate the succession of the miraculous moments of our precious lives.

  4. December 30, 2009 12:52 pm

    Beautiful words here today Rachel! Very well said…..that’s something I strive to do everyday too….just be here now! Sending love your way!

  5. December 30, 2009 2:07 pm

    This made me rush over and bury my face in my daughter’s hair just to breathe that scent.


  6. December 30, 2009 3:10 pm

    Here’s for trying again tomorrow!

  7. janie permalink
    December 30, 2009 4:54 pm

    we made the walk finally, it was beautiful. We miss you.

  8. Steph permalink
    December 30, 2009 7:50 pm

    Well said, Rach! Mindfulness has been on my mind so much lately when it comes to being with my kids. It seems that is the only way to fully drink up the fullness of their preciousness! Photos and video come close but do not quite capture it like being there in the moment. Beautiful post.


  9. jamie permalink
    December 31, 2009 10:27 am

    Im a wuss. Im overly emotional. Whatever, this post my me tear up. I daily promise the same thing and daily, I fail. And the thing is, it all goes by so fast :(

  10. December 31, 2009 1:50 pm

    So lovely…and what an adorable picture!

  11. Chris permalink
    January 1, 2010 8:42 am

    I find it funny that when our preemies were born, we wanted them to get bigger, healthier, older….and now I want to stop the clock and keep Carolyn a little girl. I too want to enjoy every second and keep my composure during the more (ah-hem) trying times. It’s my resolution to turn off the outside and just be with Carolyn. I have this weird fear that one day Carolyn will be that teenage girl that doesn’t think her Mom is cool enough to be with. And I will remember our once a week outings to a coffee shop where we enjoyed cookies and lemonade and I was her “best friend”, and probably smile through tears. Happy New Year Rachel.

  12. 6512 and growing permalink*
    January 1, 2010 3:39 pm

    Thank you for your comments everyone; I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in this push-pull of motherhood.

    Chris – I *know* I won’t always be my childrens best friend. I just console myself with the hope that I will always love what they grow to be (even if it means I can’t always squeeze Rose’s butt – which I can’t seem to keep my hands off now).

  13. January 1, 2010 5:00 pm

    What a terrific reminder to be mindful and present. Thank you

  14. January 2, 2010 9:51 am

    thank you so very much for this.

    i’m about to run out the door and for some reason i went to the computer and clicked here first.

    now i’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face and a totally different perspective on my day and the days to come.

    happy new year!

    thank you for sharing your beautiful light…


  15. January 2, 2010 11:12 am

    If words are art, then this essay was a masterpiece!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights here.

    Superb photo, too! Same session as the image that runs with your column in the Herald? Kudos to the photographer (..and the subjects, of course).

  16. January 2, 2010 6:22 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder about being present in the moment. It is indeed a worthy challenge. I love how you give yourself permission to fail, maybe I (and others) can allow ourselves that permission as well. Do I really need to point out though how very much in the moment you really are? This blog is a testament to all the tiny details that never go unnoticed by your all-seeing eyes! Love you Rach, Happy New Year to you and the family!!

  17. January 2, 2010 7:44 pm

    Being in the present, ignoring what can be more adult-oriented distractions like laundry that needs folding (or Facebook that needs skimming) — that is one of the hardest things for all of us with littles, I think. But when we do it well, it’s also so rewarding, as you clearly know. I think I might not strike just the right balance on a daily balance but if I strike it right overall, I’m doing ok.

  18. January 4, 2010 11:23 am

    love this post….

  19. January 4, 2010 9:44 pm

    Lovely… such gentleness with yourself… something I have been learning. :)


  20. January 5, 2010 11:05 am

    This. Was. Stunning. I can’t think of any other words that would do it justice. Simply. Stunning. So glad you discovered me, so that I could discover you. Amazing words…

  21. January 25, 2010 3:44 pm

    inspired me and I love it.. completely!! Can I copy it to my website with your name ofcourse and a link back to your site.. so that more people can enjoy your beautiful words and i find them in my webpage everyday.. plz let me knw otherwise id be happy to link back

  22. February 2, 2010 7:21 pm

    oh yes! and really just being aware when we fail makes a difference. that’s why I say I practice mindfulness.

    this was really beautifully written!

  23. February 3, 2010 4:57 am

    what a beautiful post. a humble and achievable resolution. thank you for sharing!

  24. woowoomama permalink
    February 3, 2010 1:16 pm

    so glad that stacy (mama-om) linked to this beautiful post. my favorite part is how you are opening your heart up to embracing even the moments that you fail. that for me was the message here. because when i can really forgive myself for the moments i fail it is so much easier for me to start fresh and reconnect. when i am angry at myself — well, you know.

  25. kaya10 permalink
    February 17, 2010 8:15 pm

    Fantastic reminder! Thank you for the beautiful words – sweetly written. I really appreciate it. From our family at 7500 feet!


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