Our very first blog post was about practicing mindfulness. As I settle into being a mom of a preschooler, infant, and dog, I find it a little more difficult to stay truly focused on the present, what with the endless list of to-dos scrolling in the back of my mind at all times.
That’s not to say I’m unable to enjoy the present, but rather that there’s a new layer of activity coursing through our house and I, naturally, find myself at the very center of it. There’s simply a lot to manage right now, and while I know it’s healthy to have periods of mindfulness and reflection, my brain seems to have gone into survival mode, searching for a semblance of organization and control (hence the to-dos). Even sitting down to write this simple blog post was more daunting than normal.
Then something happened as we sat outside on our balcony to take in the warm spring air a few evenings ago. I looked down at Joy’s face and felt almost transported to life a few years ago, before our human babies were anything more than a thought and our only real keep-it-alive responsibility was with her.
It sounds like a fairly routine and trivial interaction, but the level of calm and awe I felt in that moment is hard to articulate. In just a few years’ time, I’ve expanded not only my family size, but also my entire worldview and appreciation for life itself. Granted, a similar feeling of supreme contentment always seems to come over at the first sign of summer, when the trees are finally blooming and fragrant and I can actually feel the sun warming my bare skin. This year, though, in that moment as I locked eyes with Joy, I couldn’t help but add to it this feeling of gratefulness. Gratefulness not only for how far I’ve come, but also for how much I’ve been able to experience with Joy right by my side.
Dogs aren’t called “man’s best friend” for nothing; they simply have a way of grounding us with their ability to enjoy all of life’s moments. I think, more than anything, that’s what this moment was for me: perspective.
In the daily grind of cleaning, changing diapers, making snacks, tackling business to-dos, shuttling the kids back and forth, and all sorts of other things, it’s incredibly easy to lose sight of why you’re doing it in the first place. The great thing about dogs is that they don’t care about any of that. A dog takes each day as it comes, never trying to live in the future or plan ahead. Even better, a dog is able to let go of a bad day, moving on to the next nap or meal without a second thought. As long as its family is nearby, a dog is happy. Why shouldn’t we all keep that perspective in mind?
As long as we’re with the people (and dogs) we love, the rest is pretty inconsequential. Despite how it may feel sometimes, life is really the sum of all of the little moments, like spending a few minutes on a balcony or cuddling up to watch The Incredibles for the 17th time.
Not What But Who
Sure, it might be trite, but life is all about the journey, and I’m glad that brief glance with Joy reminded me of it. No amount of errands or accomplishments equate to what counts the most: who’s by your side. And you know what, if that includes a dog too, you’re one of the lucky ones. Who better to remind you of what’s most important than someone whose whole life centers around the people in it?