This mug has been my parenting motto for over a decade.
In all my cluelessness, long nights, patience wearing thin, and 10,000 other normal happenings of life when I want to just respond with a knee jerk reaction, I’ve had this mug on a counter, within eye sight… reminding me.
It reminds me with no judgement to make the most of every single moment.
To remember that Jordan will have an overall “sense” of growing up woven by moments that mattered to him – a weaving of positive, negative, joyous, and frustrating.
This may be the deepest motivation I’ve had to really find my intention for interactions that are tough, or out of left field. It’s given me impetus to ask myself: What matters most?
What matters most when I’m angry and he’s misunderstood and I don’t know what else to say?
What matters most when I have all the energy in the world and I want to connect but his day has been full of tons of homework or misunderstandings?
What matters most when he’s in 6th grade and just wants to jump on the trampoline and do 8 flips in a row and I don’t know how to call him in for dinner?
What matters most is the parenting secret no one talks about. It guides us in the moment. It births answers. It reveals bigger intentions.
What matters most?
Calming my own anger so he never learns he is responsible for my anger.
Bringing a snack when he’s holing up in his room after a long day – and then walking out so he can be alone.
Jumping on trampolines instead of demanding dinner time be met- and realizing dinner can be reheated.
For over a decade I’ve used this little phrase born from the mug of moments so I have very few regrets later.
Poof! Now it’s later.
He’s almost 18, and leaving for college next August. I don’t even know where. I know nothing about what the future holds. Now this mug means something completely different and maaaaybe finally I understand it in an equally powerful light.
From all my parenting days, I will also remember moments. The moments I create and remember will matter greatly as much as any I create for him. My version of reality counts as much as his.
So I’ve been document a moment every day this school year – a snippet of What Matters Most to me. Sometimes it’s an audio of a 10:30pm philosophical discussion about a school project, or a video of the moment he was working on his application to college, or a photo – of just a moment.
Like this one.
10:30pm last night. He already said Goodnight. No mother ever enters into and changes the Goodnight.
But I did.
“Let me take a photo. I didn’t take anything today.” And he dutifully smiled and I smiled and I was going to do take the selfie and I said no.
Can’t we make it more fun? Can’t we do better than this?
We had a great night. He was washing clothes, we watched the reality TV show Vanderpump Rules, we ate caramel and apples. He went to bed without being asked for pete’s sake.
I’m not settling for a nicey-nice selfie this time.
Jordan said, “Oh, you want something fun. Ok.”
He took the iphone, made one face, and I copied him. One shot and done. He handed me back the phone and went to bed.
You know what I see today?
Freedom. Tiredness. Synchronized sass from too much Vanderpump Rules. A messy living room. Fun. Everything that mattered most.
For me, this trumps perfection.
Or even control.
Or even the nicey-nice selfie that he would have obligingly taken just because I asked. I didn’t know how to ask for this.
I wanted life. And this is what it looked like last night. I don’t even remember the whole day – I just have this one moment and it’s amazing. I realize the more I hold the moments sacred, the more life shows up – that’s the parenting secret no one talks about.
Let life’s moments happen…. and get a photo.
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