Wednesday, January 13, 2010

presents/presence

It's funny how the new technology in all of our lives has caused us to post on our "everday occurrences..." I guess one could even say the same for the blogging phenomenon. We all seem to be interested in the minutiae of everyone else's world. I noticed a distinct parallel between that and my photography this year. Due to a crazy amount of stress and life's pressures, I only seemed to pull out the camera for the "big" events the past 12 months...and did not seem to always remember it for the little ones...not sure why that is, but I suppose it has to do with the guilt of being a mother and realizing that someone should take pictures of the kids under the tree, and someone should take pictures of the weather, etc. While I did fairly well during the holidays, I would say I had an "epic fail" (to quote my 15 year old daughter...) as far as the Little Moments were concerned. It is something I plan to improve upon during 2010.

I also noticed I have not necessarily done so well posting the "little things" on my blog...preferring to wait for "Something Big" to happen before I post. I am hoping to post smaller things, more often, and save the deep thoughts for times when there is something heavy weighing on my mind.

On a semi-related note, we recently bought a different vehicle and have also been trialing Mas on a new speech device. We are always waiting to see what "big" things he is going to tell us. Well, after a ride in the vehicle the other day, (and after not hearing any mechanical "Kenny-boy" voice coming from the backseat) we opened the door to find that the volume on his device was turned off, and he had pushed, "too hot", "too hot", "too hot" about 10 times. I'm sure he wondered why we weren't responding to him and why we weren't fixing the problem. It's just a blatant reminder why you can never let your guard down as special needs parents and why you sometimes need to remember to acknowledge the littler things in life...like your child that is too hot in the backseat and needs some relief!

As far as the minutiae phenom goes, I guess I am just as guilty as most of us are...it seems far more fun to focus on someone else's day than to really be present in our own. I only follow a couple of blogs, (and no twitters) but I can see where it could become time-consuming. Why are other people's lives more interesting? I would throw out there that it could be due to the fact that while we are focusing on someone else's challenges/successes/stories, we can ignore our own...if even for just a little while. That sometimes makes the day seem a little easier, I guess.

It's hard to take things day by day and not try to organize the entire future of your children's and your own lives...It's hard to actually sit down and listen to your teenager...to actually attempt to read a book to a child who is squirming to get away and can't tell you what he thinks about it. Being a mom (or parent, actually) is full of tiny moments like this. I guess it's called being "in the moment," or being present. It is only recently that I have really come to realize that the little moments are what shape us. I remember having great Christmases and Halloweens and Fourth of July's, but what I think really determines a person's character is what happens on a day-to-day basis...the filler moments that are stuffed in between the Big Moments. That is where a person develops their core values and morals. The little things really are the big things.

I can remember getting off the bus and walking into the house and smelling something wonderful that mom had baked, or sitting downstairs while my dad loaded shells and smelling the gunpowder while he listened to the Twins on the crackly radio...I recall my parents getting ready to go out on a date and smelling Charlie perfume and Old Spice cologne and listening to the great ol' 70s radio...and sitting up with the babysitter to watch Monty Python's Flying Circus, that is, until we heard the gravel cracking in the driveway and saw the headlights hit the large mirror in the living room. I remember mom and dad baking doughnuts during a blizzard, and burning our fingers while we rolled them in sugar and cinnamon and listened to the wind howl outside. I recall losing power during many storms, and having to sit inside around the kerosene lamp and play with ring-a-ma-jigs or play solitaire. I remember dad explaining to us why we should be quiet in the boat and why our feet banging on the aluminum scared the fish, and how to catch the squirmy, wet nightcrawlers on a balmy spring night and then put them in their newspaper bedding down in the old basement fridge. I remember listening to mom's piano music box that played "Sunrise, Sunset", with a wonderful minor-melancholy tinkly arpeggio while watching the little bumpy wheel turn round and round. We all have these moments. I think that when we stack all the little moments up, they are far larger than the Big Moments.

It is a hard thing, though, to pull back and keep doing the small things, especially when everyone wants to hear about the Big ones...here's hoping we can keep things in perspective here and notice a little faster that the tiny mechanical voice has not been heard from the backseat in awhile, and remember to place a Curious George bandage on the foot of a non-verbal joker and listen to his belly laugh as he points at "George on his foot," and that 15 needs to tell us all the details about the latest Chemistry test and how her marble sorter turned out and how she is organizing a display shelf at work...that is what is important. That is what we will remember. That is what they will remember, too.


1 comment:

noturtypicalmama said...

Beautifully said-- appreciating the "smaller" moments, because they are what matters and what we recall later on...I so agree. When I think of my grandma, for instance, I think of the smell of her VO5 hairsray, the sound of her bangle braclets and her cackle of a laugh. I think of her saying "home again, home again-jig, jig, jig"--these are memories that make me warm...thank you for that reminder!