Someone once told me that when you are a mother, the days are long and the years are short. I don’t think there is anything that holds more truth than that statement. Do you ever wish you could freeze the moments of precious time you have with your children? If only we could. In the thick of things, the string of everyday minutes feels almost insignificant. It seems like you are busy with life…just doing what needs to get done – at times oblivious to the details.
It is curious how we often get tricked into believing that the big events matter most – birthdays, graduations, weddings. We document them with photos and videos to remember the special day. While definitely important, the bigger, more dramatic experiences should not get all of our attention. The complete story of our lives is actually made up of very small moments, and each day is filled with them. These are the little slices of time that tickle us, warm the heart, or make us laugh. Over time, it is the small, everyday happenings combine to create great meaning. Photographers are adept at seeing these moments and snap them before they pass – a loving glance shared between two people, a tiny nose covered with freckles or the way a strand of hair falls playfully over one eye of a child. I realize it is not the formal portrait that evokes a stirring memory – but rather it is the mud soaked shoes on a rainy day, sandy feet at the beach or flour from head to toe after baking cookies that takes me back as if it happened just yesterday. These experiences are fleeting, and are often sadly overlooked and forgotten. Whether captured on a camera, or purposefully etched into memory, it is important to savor these moments with deliberate awareness.
Here are some reasons why the little moments in life really are worth remembering:
Small moments bring unexpected joy:
As a society, we are known for capturing vacations, birthdays and celebrations through the lens of our camera or iPhone. Our computers are overflowing with images from these big events. However, research published in the journal of Psychological Science suggests that capturing the opposite – the tiny almost ordinary experiences – may actually bring unexpected joy and happiness in the future. Take the time to really notice your children. Be conscious of the dimples that appear when your child smiles at you, or how small your preschooler’s hand feels in yours, the funny faces and extended tongue of your child when concentrating, or the way your daughter twists her hair when she has something important to say.
Small moments inspire wonder:
Do not ignore the little things. As writer Rudri Bhatt Patel writes, “The comfort of embracing an ‘ordinary life’ is a place of honor. To exist, to breathe, to laugh and cry are all places of revelation, but sometimes we lose sight of this privilege. The mundane pushes us to notice only those things that are conditioned to be inspirational or those things that stand apart from our ordinary existence.”
Little moments can add up to bigger moments:
Robert Brault said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were actually the big things”. Life is made up of tiny joys and victories that lead us to exactly to who we are, what matters most, and where we want to be. Over time, the everyday moments combine to create great meaning.
The heart of life is found in the details. One of the best ways to cherish small parts of each day is to be aware, give meaning to the little occurrences and live fully in the present. Instead of focusing on the many things you need to do – instead of being annoyed at the clutter of pots and pans pulled from the cupboard by your toddler or sandy little feet in your freshly vacuumed car, put it aside and enjoy the here and now. I know – it is much easier said than done. But if you can mange it for even a few moments each day you will see a difference in your connection with your children – and over time, the everyday moments will transform into ageless memories. While time cannot be altered, slowed or stopped, we certainly can slow ourselves down and treasure the in between times – the small yet priceless moments woven together as lasting, meaningful impressions of years gone by.