Right This Minute

Right This MinuteHaving a second (or third or fourth) child means having to divide your attention, patience, energy, life; everything that was once yours is divvied up between them.  I cannot count the number of times that I have said, “Sean, I can’t help you right now” or “Sarah, not right now. I’m in the middle of something.”  It may not be perfect parenting, but it is necessary. There is only so much of Mom to go around.  In fact, it happens so often that many times, I do not even know I am doing it.

Except today.  Today my little guy was sick; so, so sick.  Usually a fun, energetic, wild man, today Sean was a sad, gray, shadow of himself.  When something like this happens to your child, you stop.  Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, anything that is happening around you, everything stops.  We happen to be at the starting line of “The Color Run”.  It was to be his first 5k and it was very exciting…..  Until it wasn’t.  The stomach bug came on so fast and so hard, we did not have time to prepare ourselves.

Instead of running and playing in the sun and rainbow colored dust, we took a medic cart back to our car where his body just gave in.  Anything he had eaten in the past day (or ever?) came out.  And that was how we spent the rest of our day.
It is amazing the times that make you stop and appreciate what is in front of you.  Don’t get me wrong, I fully appreciated the absolute joy of being at The Color Run with my son, an incredibly fun athletic event for people of all ages.  However, an even greater moment of appreciation came much later that day after Sean got sick, after he was cleaned up, and after our SUV was scrubbed down.  Sean called to me from that bathroom and, like many times today, I came running. Is he sick again? Feverish?  All of those, yet he simply asked, “Will you stay with me?”  In that moment I made the decision, an easy one, to stay.  Everything else could wait.  This time I would not respond with “Not this minute, Sean” or “I can’t right now.”  I simply stayed.  No questions, no worries, no second thoughts.  There was only this moment where I stroked his head and spoke in hushed whispers.  There was only us.

In this isolated second in time, it was so easy for me.  I wish it could always be so easy.  Why not?  Being present, appreciative, and patient; prioritizing, listening, and enjoying are all choices we make.  Or do not choose.  Each day I wake up with a list of things to do, you know the one: get the kids to school, client meetings, email, billing, groceries, dinner, laundry, blah, blah, blah.  But here is an idea, what if it looked more like this: teach, learn, listen, engage, watch, practice patience, forget the clock, play, smile, hug, love?  Would our moments be different?  Maybe I would not have to wait until my child is sick and in need to have these moments.  They could happen all the time, every day even.  Put it on the list!

Today I learned from my son.  Not even four years old, yet so very smart.  He knows that right now is what matters.  Right now is what where we find the answers, the joy, and the love in each other.  The only thing that we have is this moment.  Right now.

So yes, Sean, I will stay.  Right this minute and always.

I wrote this piece for the Strong Moms column on Strenghtlete.com.  It is still one of my favorites and one that I need to refer to when things get away from me and I lose sight of what is most important.

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About the Author:
Mandy Skinner is the author of the Soccer Mom with Muscles blog.  She is the proud mom of two, Sean and Sarah, as well as a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach devoted to living healthy and happy.  She has competed in CrossFit, Powerlifting, and is currently preparing for several Figure competitions in 2015.  In addition to her athletic endeavors, Mandy is a constant advocate of healthy and active living.  
Follow Mandy on Instagram @mandyjskins or Twitter @mandyskinns
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