Yesterday I taught a newborn care class and I asked the pregnant moms and their partners what kind of parent they wanted to be.
They all answered the question with a similar version of the same answer. “To be there for their children, to care for, to protect, to love, to listen and to be present in the moment.” Their words and vision were so wise, because they put their finger on the greatest joy and the greatest challenge of parenthood.
I find being in the moment and truly listening to my children with my whole heart and ears is no easy feat. When one of my children is wanting to share something that they have done or a new discovery that they have made, I often find myself saying “Just a moment, I’ll be right there.” I might be in the middle of making dinner or listening to a interesting interview on NPR and in my distracted moment that I have stolen for myself, I find myself resistant to pull myself away. Then the moment passes and the enthusiasm that my children just had to share their life with me is gone.
With every moment that passes, as my children get older those times are fewer and I find myself longing for the days when my children looked up at me with their little eyes when I was their everything. At the time, I remember just being overwhelmed by it all. Now I tell myself that they are my reminder to “be in the moment” and that the effort it takes delivers a huge reward.