I felt like my eyeballs were going to burst from my skull from the inner pressure of built-up frustration. Adela sat on the bed, oblivious to the fact that she only had one leg in her pants and launched into some long explanation of the eating habits of hippos. For some reason, she cannot dress and talk at the same time.
That same morning I had sifted through my Monday morning emails and found an article about being present for our children. I looked at the clock. The time was ticking for me to jump in the truck and go to work, but, wanting to be a "good" mom I took a breath and focused on my half-dressed 8-year-old.
Time slowed. I smiled. She was so stinkin' cute. Her entire face lit up as she described the animal's behavior she had learned in some book or another. Her hands lifted and waved with her words. Her expressions changed with her drama-filled explanation. My frustration was replaced by fascination as I watched this child alive with passion for animals.
Then she stopped. "So, now you know how they eat, Mama."
I blinked, just like that she was sliding her other leg into her pants and flipping back her hair. Moment done.
I think it was shame that fell over me next. I often ignore or brush off Adela's strange animal-fact-tirades. They are simply just not on my agenda. But, the whole thing had taken less than a minute and my eye-contact showed her how much I respected and loved her. What a small but very powerful gift I had been withholding from my precious daughter.
Micaela crawled out of bed and grabbed one shoe, shoving it at my face. "Mama, another one shoe?" I grabbed her other. She happily hugged them as we prepared her for school and handed them to me so we could fit them over her braces. She reached up and pushed her finger onto my nose and said, ever so sincerely, "Mama, I love your nose." I laughed and rubbed my nose against hers. "I love your nose, too."
Somewhere in the back of my mind I was aware of the clock ticking, but, for this moment, I didn't care so much. I was here, now.
Oh, how incredible it is to live in the present. Worry and fear are truly emotions that come from living in the future, agonizing on what might come. I am so thankful for that article Monday morning that has set the course for the week as I engage in the present with the people I love. It is the space where God slides peacefully into my spirit as I invite Him back in. It is the practice that gives me strength and perspective.
Where in life do you feel your own agenda gets in the way of being present for the people you love?
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"...and God was already there with me."