Whenever a post from Rachel at Hands Free Mama shows up in my reader, I click on it immediately. While I have always made it a priority to put away all of our various devices when spending time with Baby, Rachel and her Hands Free revolution inspire me to be better. She helps me remember that simply going device-less does not a hands free mama make. It takes concentration and commitment.
Yesterday, I came across her post Saturday #286 on Scary Mommy (no, I don’t have the book yet but I’m dying to get my hands on it!). In the post, she talks about an article that I, by odd coincidence, read this morning while catching up on the serious stack of Parents magazines that have been building up for months.
I won’t do nearly as nice a job of summarizing the article as Rachel did so, go read her’s and then come back.
Now, my daughter is two-and-a-half. So we’ve spent just 130 Saturdays so far. I still have 810 left. 810 more Saturdays to hold her hand, live in her world, breathe her in. 810 more Saturdays to make thousands of memories.
Except it’s really not 810. Because inevitably, I’ll find myself traveling on some of those Saturdays. As she gets older, she’ll take trips of her own or go on sleepovers. I may have to work. She’ll have to do homework. I’ll get sick. She’ll get sick.
And suddenly I am dropping her off at college and dreading my return to an empty home….
Ok… deep breath.
As Rachel and the article, authored by Dr. Harley Rotbart (author of No Regrets Parenting) point out, the point is not to panic. The point is to realize that we have the time now. We should savor it, enjoy it.
Splurge on those small moments that you might have otherwise ignored.
Last week, I took Baby on a ‘quick trip’ to the grocery store in search of a key ingredient we were missing for dinner. It was 5:15. Rush hour at the grocery store. I wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible to keep dinner on schedule.
‘It’s all good!’ I assured myself. ‘Ten minutes, fifteen tops, and we’ll be back.’
Nearly 45 minutes later, we finally arrived back home. I mused to myself that nobody ever told me having a 2-year old means it will take 2 times longer to do things than it used to. And then I rushed to get dinner ready.
Now I’m looking at that errand differently.
From the very start, it was a memory.
Watching her decide which pair of shoes to wear. Which toy to bring with her. Chatting with her in the car on the way over. Listening as she noticed (and narrated) the world around her. Singing ‘Wheels on the Bus’ in the car because we happened to pass a bus. Listening to her debate which bag of rice we should buy. Watching her proudly carry the bag of rice to the register. Feeling her delight when I let her scan the rice herself. Chatting with her all the way home.
It may have taken me double the time. But in that trip, I made double the memories.
And that’s the point. As Dr. Rotbart noted, memories are certainly made during the big events, the big planned trips to the museum or big Sunday brunches. But they are also made when you simply splurge on an ordinary, everyday, ‘quick’ trip to the grocery store.