A Quote, to start:
And just as in life itself, when faced with a range of family, social and cultural pressures to conform to frequently unstated and unconscious norms, and with all the inherent stresses of caring for children, as parents we often find ourselves in spite of all our best intentions and our deep love for our children, running more or less on automatic pilot. To the extent that we are chronically preoccupied and invariably pressed for time, we may be out of touch with the richness, what Thoreau called the "bloom," of the present moment. This moment may seem far too ordinary, routine, and fleeting to single out for attention. Living like this, it is easy to fall into a dreamy kind of automaticity as far as our parenting is concerned, believing that whatever we do will be okay as long as the basic love for our children and desire for their well-being is there. We can rationalize such a view by telling ourselves that children are resilient creatures and that the little things that happen to them are just that, little things that may have no effect on them at all. Children can take a lot, we tell ourselves.
Before Big, BioMom and I rarely stopped. Well, certainly once Eight had become Four or so and started having her 'own life'. Once preschool started. Big forces you to be in the moment. His energy requires ours. And I am grateful.
The authors go on to talk about the 'rising stress on virtually all fronts in the society, and an accelerating sense of time urgency and insufficiency.' This could have perfectly described our lives six months ago, and to many, it probably still does. We have a tendency, I suppose not unlike most American families, to overschedule. To not want to miss out on social and educational opportunities for us and our kids. We live in a city with thousands of options for children to be enriched. Where does one stop? And without mindful parenting, how can one know when enough is enough for your child?
Reading this book makes me remember to look forward to the smallest moments. I can't wait for Eight to come home from school today so that I can show her the article I read about Sasha and Malia and how they met the Jonas brothers and stayed up with their friends on the night of the inauguration watching High School Musical III. These are things that I would have not noticed without her. It is a reminder to jump in with her and her life. To learn the things she loves and hang on tight for her life's ride because that train will go with or without me.