Yesterday, my daughter Finley woke up in the best mood.  Within 30 seconds of opening her eyes … through the monitor we heard her sweet little voice singing to her dolls.  When I went to get her, the first thing she did was point at the elephants on her pajamas and say excitedly:  “Mom – bemember the circus and the am-in-als?” (we had gone a couple weeks prior) and then proceeded to giggle and tell me that she peed “a lot” and that those elephants on her jammies were wet. (but anyways) After I changed her, she sprinted in our room to her Dad and we all cuddled up in bed.  In two minutes, she asked for her feet to get tickled, she laughed hysterically at herself when she burped, then she just simply and sweetly tucked her little head into my shoulder, pulled the covers up, threw her big brown eyes up at me and said “love you Mommy.”

(Melt. My. Heart.)

And little did this sweet little soul know that in the few days prior – I had been diving into those  “I need to be a better Mom” waters and swimming in a pool of guilt that I had spent WAY too much time working/doing other things than focusing on her.  I was coming off a super busy time both for work and personally… it just felt like I was spinning in a circle, and with my daughter’s second birthday a week away, I started to get emotional that I was “missing” things.

So when that precious girl in her elephant pajamas cuddled up into my shoulder and professed her love for me – I had a moment of pause.   Here I was beating myself up about not being the perfect Mom, and almost as if she knew my thoughts – she reminded me that I was doing just fine.

That little moment just made me become really introspective about a lot of things… but specifically, what our “constantly moving” lifestyle as a family is, and how it affects us.

In general, our little trio of a family is BUSY.  We are everywhere, all of the time.  Whether it’s work, birthday parties, weddings, vacations – bottom line, if my husband and I see an open weekend on our schedule, it feels really odd.   I’m sure some of you can relate with me.  And just when you start to feel stressed that you have no time… one of those quotes come across your Facebook feed about how the true moments in life happen when you “stop and smell the roses” – and you start to feel guilty that you don’t have a minute to stop and breathe let alone find time to find a rose to smell.

 And in my introspective state of trying to see things through my non-judgemental daughter’s eyes, I realize that (mostly thanks to my husband) as a family, we really do find ways to make “slow down” moments happen in the midst of our chaos – and they are usually the ones that stand out more than the ones where we had a bunch of time to spare.

Case in point:

I’ll be standing there in the grocery store asking for my husband’s opinion on what to have for dinner… and I usually don’t get an answer because he’s off racing Finley down Aisle 9 in the cart because he loves the way it makes her laugh.    Or on a day when I had three photo shoots and didn’t have time to cook dinner so we ate Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a family and I was feeling defeated because I didn’t spend two hours creating something Pinterest worthy … we end up sitting on the kitchen floor for 10 minutes with Finley creating a loud, family-band ruckus on our pots and pans as she non-stop smiles.

Those images in my head depict some of my absolute favorite moments as a family… and it only took minutes for them to be created.

So my lesson to myself was this:  It’s not that easy to just make the change from a busy  life – sometimes it just “is” – it’s the world we live in.  And we spend all of this time thinking about how we wish we could change that,  instead of focusing our energy on cutting out small little pockets of time… and really “live” in them.

Whether it’s finding two minutes to turn on the TV music channel and have a dance party with our kids.  Or choosing NOT to open Facebook and spend the five minutes that we would spend reading through “What I’m thankful for posts” … and instead take that time to call a family member we haven’t talked to in a while. Or while we’re scurrying around taxiing our kids to soccer practice – crank up the tunes really loud and sing even louder.   It doesn’t take a lot of time to have memories – we just need to switch our mindsets to realize it, and recognize the little windows of time to create them.

I was in my office editing on deadline over this past weekend – when I heard my husband call me to come outside.  He said, “Get your camera. I want a picture of this.”  And I heard Finley yelling for him to “come back” –  and when he did,  they resumed the position … and starting counting clouds together again.  They were only outside for 10 minutes – but this memory in my mind is worth a lifetime of them.

Let’s all make more…