Cherish Every Moment?

by Alicia on February 27, 2013

Today will never happen again. That moment you just lived is gone, never to return. You are older every second you’re alive, further from your youth and abandon. Cherish every moment as if it’s your last!

WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT?!!

Listen, I’m a fan of the inspirational quote when used sparingly. I acknowledge the passage of time and appreciate the fleeting loveliness of one of those moments that kind of transcends time. I get it. I’m a mother. Trust me, I get it.

But also…I’m a mother. I can’t cherish the whole of everything. I just cannot. I couldn’t possibly keep up!

I feel like the effort to “cherish every moment” is a new age scare tactic, a well-intentioned but poorly processed guilt mechanism. “So many people will die tomorrow, you should love your today!” Erm…thanks? “Every moment could be your last!” How…inspirational? Listen, I have sat at the very bedside holding the hand of a man whom I loved as he literally took his very last breath…I appreciate how important it is to spend the time and spread the love while we’re here to do it. But all this pressure to be 100% present in the exact moment we’re in and always stare in wonder at the beauty of taking another breath or watching your child blink or picking a wildflower? No thank you.

I don’t think every moment has to be cherished. Those ones where my child is screaming in my face or thrashing around on the floor (or both!) because she wants a banana and there’s a banana torn the hell apart all over the table and the other two kids are begging for a drink of specifically chocolate milk or they will surely diiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeee and the dog is clawing at the back door to come in and your noodles are boiling over on the stove top? No thanks. I’ll pass on the ever remembering that one ever again, thanks. Cherish it? No. No, certainly not.

I can’t spend every moment trying to remember every moment. That’s not really life either.

I spend some time at the end of the day…okay, the end of most days, reflecting on all the positive parts that fill the blank lines of the family yearbook I keep in my brain. I wince at the bad parts and keep those memories in place too. I cherish the day. I love the whole of it, I feel like the bad rounds out the good and keeps it all very real. I’m not interested in losing the moments to the act of trying to make them all beautiful and worthy.

There’s just so much pressure on a parent. Be better, do the most, make it count. Who gets to determine what “make it count” even means, though? There are three ladies in my life who will one day, many many years from now, have the wherewithall to hopefully declare what my motherhood did for/to them. No, I do not answer to them…we are their parents, right now they answer to us. When they can earn some perspective, when they can appreciate the weight of the efforts we attempted, then I hope they’ll tell stories about the moments they cherished.

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