Monday, November 19, 2012

Being Present

Not long ago I was reading a blog that I formerly read quite religiously.
The blog post of the day included the explanation that the young daughter had gotten her hands on her mother's camera and had taken a picture of her mother.
Her mother was sitting at the computer and staring at the screen in the picture.
The caption of the picture was something like this:
"This is probably how my children will remember me."

I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since.

How am I being remembered as a mother, a wife, and a friend?

When I think of my mother, I think of her reading to us from the front seat of the mini-van during road trips.
I remember her in the kitchen gliding around the floor in almost a dance as she instructed us in our homework, cooked dinner, graded papers, and painted her fingernails all at the same time.
I remember going to parks and having long conversations sitting in the car.
Sometimes, we would pull into the garage and we wouldn't get out.  We would sit in the car and talk until we were finished.
She listened to me and was joyful when I was joyful and was sad when I was sad.

When I think of my daddy, I remember countless hours watching him direct shows.
I marveled then and now at his ability to create beautiful things.
I remember conversations driving home super late from this-that-and the other and talking about crazy things just to keep each other awake.
I remember him walking in the front door after work and playing with us children on the floor of the front room.
I remember him sitting next to me for hours as I practiced the piano.

My parents were always aware of me, my thoughts, and my feelings but I am becoming fearful for my own children and the other children of their generation.

Too many times I've been in a store and heard a little child saying "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" and noticed that Mommy wasn't looking because she was focusing instead on a cell phone.

Or how about the parent who loses their temper with their child because the child interrupted their technology time.

We all have the friend that will be texting someone else while you are trying to tell them a story.
That is mean...
and it does nothing but make the present person feel that they are no kind of friend at all.

Too many times my husband and I have been on dates and too much of the time was spent communicating with other people via text, instagram, facebook, email, and phone conversations.

All too often I'll look up from the laptop to see my beautiful daughter studying my face with sparkles in her eyes and drool on her lips.

It always makes me wonder 'what did I miss?'  
Did she make an adorable face?
Did she smile at me?
What if she did?
Unfortunately, I can never get it back.

Our society is drowning in technology.
It is such a blessing but I believe it will eventually be the curse that causes us all to miss our children's lives

unless we put the phone down,
shut down the laptop,
and turn our eyes towards real people.

When Celine was born I had a NO technology rule for myself during feeding time.
I loved to study her face and her sweet hands.
One day I decided to talk on the phone during feeding time
and next thing you know, feeding time has become 'catch up on everything happening in the social media world' time.

Today, I left my phone in the other room and I went back to studying the face of my daughter during feeding time.
In fact, I left my phone in the other room for the rest of the afternoon as we played and read stories.
She did some glorious things like 
rolling over, 
and speaking her new found language.

I am so lucky that I got to witness it all with nothing to pull away my attention.
I am so blessed to have this little angel to witness the life and growth of every day.
How dare I take those moments for granted.

As I went back to my phone later this evening, the instagrams were still there, the emails were still pouring in with pre-black friday deals, and no one was devastated because I hadn't answered their phone calls.

Tonight, as I go to bed, I am relishing in the sweetness of the moments with my daughter.
None of those sweet moments even remotely involved technology.
The sweetest of memories will not be a facebook post or a text message.
My phone was not saddened in the least bit that I had neglected it for several hours
but my child would have been.
She may not be as aware now, but she will be in the future, and I'd rather correct the pattern now than later.

The sweetest of memories from my life are all grounded in human interaction.
How fun that we have technology to capture those moments with
but what a tragedy if we miss the moments because our presence is focused instead on the virtual and not the literal.

I never want my sweet Celine to wonder if I am listening.
I never want her to wonder if I am interested in her emotions.
I never want Celine to question what is most important to me.
She is most important to me.
Her Papi is most important to me.
No matter how many facebook friends I have
and no matter how many notifications are beeping from my telephone,
those numbers will never mean more to me than witnessing the daily discoveries of my little Sugar
and the silliness and sweetness of her Papi.

So, I need to make a promise to the WWW and it's people.
I vow right now to not miss out on my life.
I vow to pay attention and be present.
I vow to put my phone deep in the diaper bag and use it and all it's bells and whistles for what they were intended:
Capturing and sharing moments...
not missing them completely.
I vow to pull out the cell phone to capture the beautiful moments of life rather than already having it in hand taking the risk of missing the beautiful moments completely.

This is a good life and I plan to live it.

Here are two of my favorite capturing's of the weekend:
Right as Papi got home on Sunday evening.
I finished teaching voice lessons one morning and walked into the bedroom  and found these two angels.


  1. What a great reminder of what really is important! I feel the same way every day and never want to miss any moments. Your posts always inspire me to be better..Thank you!
    Oh and Celine looks so adorable! She has changed so much!

  2. I just read this as I was nursing my baby :) what a great reminder to focus on what is really important and not too be so busy trying to capture the moments that we forget to actually "be in the moment". Thanks Annie!

  3. i love this! Beautifully written and a great reminder to us all! thank you for this