A little reminder about being present

Rafael and Florence holding hands in the living room
No matter how hard we try, we can’t always be present in the moment all the time.

The mind wanders. We’re human.

My mind wanders a lot. It always has. Controlling its wandering is, and probably always be, a challenge for me.

It is so easy to start thinking about the groceries, the dishes that need doing or the laundry that needs folding. Even just day dreaming about that nap that it would be lovely to take.

And that’s ok. Sometimes I need to remind myself that it is natural for the mind to wander.

But every now and again I am sent a little reminder about how important it is to try to remain present in the moment, particularly in those moments that I am spending time with my children. 

My most recent reminder came when I was playing with Rafael in the lounge room.

To be honest, I had tuned out of what was going on. He was sitting opposite me on the couch, chatting away, but I wasn’t really listening. My mind was miles away as I was mindlessly nodding and “mmmmm-ing”.

At one stage I heard Rafael saying to me “Mummy, there’s a beehive out there” and pointing out of the living room window. It took him probably a couple of repetitions before I engaged enough with him to manage a “oh really, a beehive” before I went back to thinking about whatever it was I was thinking about. The truth is, it didn’t really occur to me that he might have seen a beehive. I just took it to be his chatter to which I wasn’t really listening.

It was my husband, who came into the room at that moment, who really paid attention to Rafael. Together, they looked out of the window and saw, right under the living room eave, a giant wasp nest. We had suspected that there must have been one around because we had noticed a large number of wasps around the backyard in recent weeks. Rafael had found it.

I realised right then that I wasn’t making my time in that moment with Rafael count. I wasn’t engaged with him. I wasn’t present in the moment. I was simply letting his words wash over me as I focussed on my own thoughts.

I realised that I was missing out, and not just missing out on important information like the location of a dangerous wasps nest. If I was missing out on that information then I was missing out on other things too.

How many hilarious things had he said that I hadn’t heard? How many questions had he asked that I hadn’t answered? How many enthusiastic grins had I missed seeing?

I know that I am not always going to be present in the moment 100% of the time. I am human.

But it was timely reminder to keep trying no matter what.

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