January 19, 2007

Tomorrow Will Worry About Itself

One of my favorite parenting sites, Parenthacks, has been posting short profiles of some of their users. Each has been asked to give their one-line parenting motto, and the the many different answers have fascinated me. How does one encapsulate the entirety of their parenting philosophy in a pithy slogan?

I tend to focus on the finish line. I go through a day or season or year thinking about the next step, next phase, next goal in life. Some of my biggest regrets have to do with stretches of my life I wasted working toward that next thing (or worse, just waiting) without enjoying each day in itself. It affects my parenting, as well. I think about the kind of adult I hope Puppy will grow into, or the kind of behavior I want him have as a toddler. I look ahead to what he may become when who he is sits right in front of me.

But I've noticed that changing in me when I am with him. He giggles as we spin across the kitchen floor or stops in the yard to carefully examine a fallen leaf. And suddenly I am nowhere but present with him, soaking up every drop of that moment before it passes. Seeing him as he is now.

It turns out I too have a motto, one which rose up organically from life with Puppy. Today only comes once. On the hard days, it reminds me that tomorrow will be different--maybe not better, but at least not this day again. And on those many other days, it reminds me that this moment in Puppy's life--and in mine--will never come again. It draws me into the fullness of our life together as it is right now.

Today only comes once. And I am not going to miss it.

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