I’m still having trouble grasping that it’s now month 9 of 12. I took most of my summer off, and focused on my children, husband, and myself. It’s something I have never done before. And when I say never, I mean that I have never given up everything else. Normally, I have my hands in a number of things. I’ve always been very active in my community, I would spend time nurturing new friendships and usually had a few “projects” going on, along with my writing. I love being busy. Busy works for me. But, at the beginning of this year I felt like time was passing me by. My children are growing up and years are passing like calendar pages. I’ve thought this before, but this time I felt a pull at my heart. I found myself looking at things differently. It’s very hard to put into words, but it’s the same reason I put my business plans on hold until Shore Duty is over. I don’t want to be so busy that I miss out on the little things.

This last year I have felt very nostalgic. When I would see my children together laughing and sharing a “moment”, I felt like I was taking a mental snap shot. I just sat there, taking it all in. I’ve noticed more details in my life. And not just with myself, but with others. I’ve observed more. I think for many of us, we rush through our days. We are passengers and life is the ride. Sometimes we are too busy having fun or worrying what’s ahead. We are yelling, hands up in the air, flying full speed, and you forget what’s flying by you. I needed to get off the ride and take it all in. I needed to be able to see the faces around me.

This wasn’t about balancing family time or being a better parent. This was about me truly appreciating them and my life. I found myself going through the days events and motions participating, but not always present. For me, I needed more “snapshots” and less focus on what came next. I spent this summer viewing my life as a movie. I watched through a metaphoric lens, recording all the little moments my mind could hold.

The kids still kept busy with their interest, but I just enjoyed being there. I watched a lot of soccer practices and dance classes. 99% of the time, I was the only parent there. Everyone else was using that time to run to the store or do their own thing. I could have done this (and I did a few times), but for the most part I was present in the moment.

I watched soccer practice from afar, on a blanket in the sun. I was able to witness some proud moments and see my son interact with his peers. (He didn’t know I was at the park). I also enjoyed the day…the sun, the trees, the breeze. It was my form of meditation.

I sat through many dance classes. I loved watching my daughter “feel” the music and move with such passion and grace. I watched her commit to perfecting a dance and then beamed with her, as she finished it correctly for the first time.

I took more walks with my husband and we relaxed in the hammock together. The lines next to his eyes are getting deeper. He has aged in the last 14 years. We were just teenagers when we fell in love. I found myself looking at him more…really looking at him. I find him more attractive now than I did years ago and his eyes still “sparkle” when he looks at me. It’s like he is smiling from the inside out, and it still gives me butterflies every time. I noticed that his smile is honest and contagious. I realized we kiss. . . a lot. We kiss hello, goodbye, good-morning, good-night, and just because. . .We are in love and very happy, but so many *kisses* were just in passing. So, I made a point to stop what I was doing and kiss him. This led to some pretty romantic moments that I will keep to myself, but wow. I didn’t realize I wasn’t always “present” in those moments. We take so much for granted.

These little moments are so important; yet, if we are not careful, they are easily missed.

I could have dropped off my children at each practice/class and then picked them up hours later to only hear about their “moments”. And that’s if they even remembered them. I could have sat next to my husband and watched a TV show or completely coexisted without ever noticing the details of our relationship and how it’s evolved.

Most of my snapshots are the most ordinary moments. . .

Like, the amazing shot my son (Goalie) saved and seeing the team swarm around him cheering. . .only for him to walk over to the guy that took the shot to shake his hand and compliment him.

Or, my daughter perfecting a turn or putting her leg on the high bar for the first time, looking back to me beaming with excitement. . .only to turn back around and into “position”, proud and poised. But, I can see her in the mirror….fighting her smile.

And noticing the sparkle in my husband’s eyes when he looks at me. . .I wonder how many times I’ve missed this.

These are my snapshots from this summer.

There were no big trips or resorts needed. I just opened my eyes a little wider and had one of the best summers I can remember.

“Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

-Author Unknown

Some of my mental snapshots caught on camera

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