This Day is Like No Other

Did you ever just try to get through a day? Some days rush by; others feel like a slog that you can barely drag yourself through. I’ve many days where I look up and go, “What happened?” as well as “Ohhhh if I could just get through this day.”

When you’re young and single, I think these days tend to happen often. You don’t have anyone (yet) to think about, and the days when all I had to be concerned about was what flavor of Top Ramen and episode of “Good Eats” (Alton Brown is my homeboy) to watch, days just flew by without my really noticing. When you’re a kid, you wait for two days: Christmas, and the day school lets out for summer vacation. All other days are just to get through.

Since I’ve become a parent, however, I’ve realized with increasing clarity that every day has a moment, or several moments, that need to be savored. Like today for instance: My family was enjoying a rare Saturday all together (my husband Bill is a mail carrier, and Saturday is a workday for him). We splurged and took a drive to our favorite restaurant, then came home and either napped or watched some TV. Bill and my son, Jaxson, retired to our bedroom, where Jaxson watched videos on YouTube Kids and Bill snoozed. I goofed around on Pinterest for a while, checked my email, and decided to sign up for some online training for writers (more on that in a future post). I was in the middle of listening to a podcast when Jaxson came out and asked me to sit with him. I told him I would be there in a minute, and he hopped up on the couch with my phone to continue watching his little show. It was at that moment that something pinged inside me–the podcast would be there. My son wanted to be with me. So I shut off the computer and went to hang out with him.

Was it a teaching moment, with me drilling him on numbers, letters, colors, etc? Were we sharing a profound moment that he’ll remember forever? No, but one thing he WILL remember is that his mommy spent time with him. We just sat there together (if I’m truthful, I’ll admit that I dozed off in the middle of reading a book).

I’m not trying to pat myself on the back, but I do want my experience to sound a clarion call to other parents. Jaxson’s first year went by very, very quickly, and I often find myself wishing I’d spent more time just enjoying him. The first few months of his life were traumatic for me, as I was trying to learn how to balance motherhood against forty years of doing what I wanted whenever I wanted to. While I absolutely adored him, I sometimes felt frustrated at not getting enough ‘me-time’, and then felt horribly guilty for even wanting time alone. Granted, dealing with spit-up, baby poop, and three o’clock feedings (and yes indeedy three o’clock was his hour of choice) weren’t exactly on par with going to Disneyland, but I spent too much time just ‘getting through’ those moments. I will say that not every moment was wished away, though; I can remember with clarity during those feedings that I felt compelled to kiss that little face over and over again. I would smooth his fuzzy hair, touch his little eyebrows, wipe his little chin, marvel at his tiny fingers.  He’s such a big boy now, but I have memories of him as a sweet baby tucked in my heart. I just wish I had more.

In the musical “RENT,” playwright Jonathan Larson wrote a song called “Seasons of Love”:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure – measure a year?

The cast of the play talks about measuring how many sunsets or sunrises one sees, or midnight talks with a friend over coffee, but that the most important way to measure time is in love. How much love did you give? How much love did you receive?

One of my coworkers likes to do things immediately, and to them, to wait is to waste time. For years they had a piece of art on their bulletin board that had a quote from an ancient Jewish book of instruction, the Talmud: If not now, when? As I have gotten to know this person better, I can see that this quote fits perfectly with their personality. In their work life, action speaks. I have begun adopting this mindset more often, and I have seen my relationship with this coworker improve.

However, the mindset of not putting something off is a worthy one. I would add the caveat of making certain that whatever you turn your attention to has to matter to you deeply. Make time for the things that are most important. Know that every day you are alive on this earth is a gift from God, in order to accomplish His purpose for you.

Stacy Halsted is a young mother of a five-year-old boy named Tripp (cute, huh?). One day when Tripp was two, he suffered an accident that resulted in a massive head injury. In order to save his life, doctors removed part of his brain. For three years, you could see the spot in his skull that was caved in from this surgery (he’s since had a prosthesis that will grow with his skull, but there’s still no brain underneath it). Overnight, he went from a typical two-year-old to a child with significant medical needs. He has made miraculous strides in recovering his health, but doctors are unsure of just how much he will be able to do in later life. His family cares for him and involves him in everything they do, but sometimes Stacy succumbs to the question “Why?” During those times, she recounts how grateful they were that they enjoyed spending time with Tripp, and how glad they are that he’s still with them. I know if Tripp were to be called Home tomorrow, she and her family would no doubt savor all of the memories they created with him.  If you want to follow their story, go to http://www.teamboom4tripp.com/.

My point is this: Today was created for a reason. You’re here reading these words for a reason. Don’t waste it. Don’t just ‘get through it.’ If you’re spending the day caring for a loved one, or working at a dead-end job, or studying, cleaning the house, anything that could (and often does) seem tedious, and you just wish for a better tomorrow–hang on. Find one thing about today that was special or unique. Was it a smile? A hand squeeze from a loved one who can no longer speak? A hug? Someone opened the door for you? A text, or email, or a sale flyer from your favorite store? You made the perfect poached egg, or your toilet is spotlessly clean? Find that thing, and hold on to it.

This day was made for that. This day was made for YOU.

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