Cherish the Moments
Everything you are is everything in me
November is truly my most favorite month of the year. I love the anticipation of the holidays although it’s a little different now having older children. I love the cooler temps, the warmth of the fire, the shorter days, the homey feel of the month. Rob loves the fact that it is sweater and boot season (insert eye roll). I love the fact that it’s the month of my birthday - hint. hint. I love Thanksgiving and the cooking, the feeling of family coming together. Love, love, love!
In the midst of all of that good stuff, of all of those things that I love, is a common thread. It’s a feeling of gratitude. Of thankfulness. Of being grateful. And as I finish off my 45th year and head into my 46th, I have learned more and more that that feeling of gratitude is often times NOT about those big, in your face times where it’s like a blinking bar sign that screams “BE GRATEFUL”. Gratitude, feeling gratitude, having gratitude, living a life of gratitude - it’s found in the minutia of our days. The little things. Often times the instances that we overlook. Gratitude is all about cherishing the moments - both big and small.
How we cherish
Y’all - I’m guilty of not cherishing every moment. When your to do list is 20 items long, the dog left you a present on the family room carpet, the rear tire is low on the car and you’re trying to fit in 3 football games and get everyone fed AND hit the gym - it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for ‘cherishing’. But what I’ve learned and what I found this past weekend is that if you seek it, you will find it. It may take some maneuvering but it is possible and there are two things I think that are vital in the pursuit of cherishing the moments in our life.
1. Tune out the Negative
This is a big one. Sometimes the cloud that keeps us from cherishing the little moments, fogs our vision from seeing the gratitude is the negative voices. We all have that ‘friend’ in our life where nothing is ever good. The one that wants to talk about every ailment, how this sucks and that blows and nothing is great and blah blah blah. It’s EXHAUSTING. And by the time they get around to asking about you and it’s your turn to vent all you want to do is put a clamp on the conversation while you try to climb out of their gutter of despair. Tune it out. Shut it down. Get off the phone. Have an appointment. Whatever mechanism you need to use, use it and remove yourself from that negative voice.
I caution you too to clean your own lens and clean out your own ears. Often times we don’t realize that WE ARE THAT FRIEND. We are the ones that people are slowly backing away from as we pour out all of our troubles day after day after day. It’s okay to white lie in my opinion. When someone says, “How are you?” often times they want the short version. And the shortest version I know is, “I’m great! How are you?” Sometimes you have to fake it til you make it and you don’t need to share your verbal vomit day in and day out.
Why is this important?
How many times have you been in a great mood and you see a friend and they share their verbal negativity with you? Countless I bet. And when you walk away you’ve most likely got a little less bounce in the house, the world doesn’t seem so bright, you’re seeing things through a negative colored glass. If you can work on training your brain, shutting down that negativity, you keep your thoughts open to the positive experiences in your day. Try to empathize, not internalize. Because this positive outlook, this desire to find the good is what allows you to cherish the moments that cross your path, helps you to have that attitude of gratitude.
Tuning out the negative - My world
So I had a mini comp this past Friday. Four old ladies competing in three different events to see who would come out on top. And the other three competitors, well, let’s just say they are some of the best of the best. I was tired going into it, some of the things I had either never done, didn’t like to do, made me anxious, etc. And I whined and complained about it a little beforehand, knowing that I was going to struggle. Negative Nelly for sure. Long story short, out of the four, yours truly came in fourth. I was the unmentionable when they were handing out places. Disappointing but what can you do.
These are the moments
Wouldn’t you know after the comp as we are getting ready to leave a woman comes up to me and says how much she enjoyed watching me. I gave her this blank stare and she says, “You were smiling and laughing the whole time and just looked like you were having so much fun.” Which I was. But that was not where my focus was - it was on finishing fourth out of four. And her comment made my night. Served as a reminder that sometimes the journey is about inspiring others, not about your place on the podium. And I was grateful.
2. Lower your expectations.
I consider myself a high achiever, a mastermind at setting expectations that are a little over the top. The original Clark Griswold. Guilty. We need to lower our expectations of ourselves and of our life. I’m not saying don’t strive to be great or set goals or accomplish magnificent things. I’m saying keep it all in check and realize that life is life and life gets in the way of life and that our expectations need to be reasonable to accommodate - you guessed it - life.
The same goes for time with our families and our friends. I personally have these expectations of family time where the house is clean, no one is insulting anyone else, phones are turned off, we are holding hands and singing Kum By Ya and everyone is genuinely happy to be with one another. Ummmm yeah… Not so much. Lowering our expectations simply means that we not only go into our day with positivity and hope but also an awareness that we gotta roll with the punches that life throws. Doesn’t mean the day still won’t provide moments to cherish - they may not just look exactly like what we expected.
Why is this important?
It’s a lot of pressure, the expectations we place on ourselves. And no one likes to fail. I know I say that failure is a part of growth but it doesn’t mean that we enjoy it. If we keep our expectations a little more reasonable, add in some room for error and have some flexibility then it’s not such a throat punch when things don’t turn out exactly the way we expected them to. And with that flexibility to take things a little more as they come also comes the willingness to keep our eyes and ears open to moments that we can cherish.
Lowering expectations - My world.
I had all three of my children home this weekend. First time since August. And boy were my expectations HIGH! We had two football games, a hockey game and lots of good old fashioned lets-spend-some-time-together fun planned. Or I had it planned I should say. I had a big crockpot of chili going for Friday night, Rob and I were going to divide and conquer and start the weekend off breaking bread with our goslings, watching a movie and setting the tone for a fabulous couple of days in the same house. Yeah. Not so much. Long story short, everyone was in bed by 9, tired and cranky. Me more so than anyone. I had my expectations set so high for the start of the weekend that when things didn’t go my way - well I allowed it to impact the entire night.
I know heaven must exist
Woke up with determination and a scaled down version of my expectations the next morning. Gone was the clean house. No problem. Fixed everyone breakfast and left the dishes in the sink. Mowed the lawn and got ready for Jax’s game, his first Varsity game where we would go as a family. Game was great, all of us were involved and as a bonus we got a family picture that is awesome and our 2017 Christmas card is taken care of. And I can look at that picture and no matter the way the weekend didn’t go, that moment is so right. And something to be cherished.
Cherishing the Moments - Hallie Style
True story about my weekend. It had been a long time since all of my little goslings had been home and where we could spend the time together. It had been a tough week with the loss of my Uncle, leaving my mom as the only surviving member of her family. A continued fight for health for my dad. Losses in my personal life that I had already grieved that kept rising to the surface and causing me to relive the pain and heartache of the loss. So when I went into the weekend it was with hope. I needed some joy. Desperately needed to be engulfed in family love. And hence the overboard attempt to make things as perfect as I possibly could.
I got some one on one with my Lex. And chatted with her about college life and her future and her hopes and dreams. Conversation got a little snarky at times on the way home on Friday and I attempted to squash my irritation and quietly asked in my heart, “Give me a sign that this is going to be a good weekend. Please. Anything.” And then and there Wagon Wheel came on the radio. And Lex reached over and grabbed my hand and we sang it word for word. Together. And I was so filled with love for her as a person, as my daughter, as a woman I admire. A song that means so much to me to share with my little girl whom means the world to me. #cherishthecarrides
And these are the moments
And that oldest son of mine and how crazy he makes me - he has his good moments too. He came down the stairs to go to the game in Patriots pajama bottoms. Seriously. And I asked him didn’t he have anything else to wear and got a ‘nope’. Not what I had hoped for with the family picture hopes looming in the back of my mind but choosing my battles. We left at half time, him and I, to go to Dunks and get coffees. And that son of mine, he held my hand in front of God and everyone until we got to the parking lot. And he’s 17 (almost). And that moment, to say I will cherish it always, is an understatement. #cherishahandtohold
I know all I need is this
Oh my little…rarely does he get to be the center of attention. In a good way. With him being the only one at home now Jax is always the center of my attention and he will tell you that is not a good thing. But Saturday, we rolled purple. And the day was all about him. Jax didn’t get a chance to get in the game but he got the opportunity to see his siblings and his parents, in the stands, cheering for his team. And this year, for our Christmas card, he is the center of attention. And I cherish the pride and the love on his face as it is a reflection of not just how he feels about his football family but a reflection of how he feels about our lifeboat of five. #cherishhispride
I've found all I've waited for
I say it time and time again. This life we live is short. And so very precious. And the hours and the days and the weeks are not going to go our way. As we head into Thanksgiving and the holidays please take the time to find your gratitude. Those inconsequential minutia of our time spent together that are so special, so great, so full of love and awesomeness simply by our very awareness of them. Put it on your to do list, mark it in your agenda, make the choice. Cherish the moments.
And I could not ask for more