Thursday, June 24, 2010

the bigger picture

At some point today, amid all the OHMYGOSHWASTHATJUSTANEARTHQUAKE that was happening on Twitter AND INSIDE  MY HEAD, I happened to click on a link posted by Christine from Coffees and Commutes. It was to a new writing initiative called Bigger Picture Moments whose goal is to encourage everyone to take a step back and take in the life we're living. I thought, hey neat, then went back to reading all the #earthquake fun.

(And believe me for those who missed it, once the shock wore off -pun intended- people really brought on the funny. Who knew you could make so many jokes about an earthquake??)

(On a more somber note, how blessed are we that WE CAN ACTUALLY MAKE JOKES ABOUT AN EARTHQUAKE? Although an earthquake of 5.0 isn't normally catastrophic, in many, MANY areas of the world it would mean untold tragedy and suffering for thousands. We. Are. Blessed.)

The Bigger Picture Moments stuck with me though. Originally, I had no intention of participating. I already have too much already that hasn't been blogged, too many pictures not edited and uploaded, too many stories not shared. 

And then it hit me.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in projects and ideas and everything that I want to do -and everything I have to do- that what I am doing loses its importance. And more importantly, what my kids are doing loses its importance. 

It passes me by.

While I'm editing pictures or doing laundry or refinishing furniture or organizing my bookshelves by colour, I could be playing with my boys. My precious boys. I find myself saying, "not right now" or "just let mummy finish this" or "give me a few more minutes" too often. Not always, but more often than I'd like.

I'm not saying that these other things aren't worthy pursuits. Be it cooking or cleaning or crafting or organizing or working from the home (which is what I consider my photography to be), it all has a place.  

I think it's a matter of priorities. And while my boys are undoubtedly my top priority in my heart, sometimes in the daily grind they get pushed aside. Not roughly or rudely or harshly, but they nonetheless find themselves wanting me and having to wait.

Sometimes this is a necessity. The reality is that I can't focus on my children a hundred percent of the time. I do have to cook. I do have to clean and organize. I need to have projects and creative outlets. I have paying clients and deadlines. I know that I can't simply drop everything for them whenever they want me to.

But when I am with them, I really want to be all there

I want to relish their childhoods. I want to savour these precious little people they are right now and the amazing little-bit-bigger people they are becoming every day. They are a blessing. They are each a little gift. A precious gift.

I don't want it all to pass me by while I'm standing over the stove, or bend over a pile of laundry, or sitting in front of the computer, or stuck behind my camera. I want my boys to know that they are my priority. Not just in word, but in deed. When they are grown and look back at their childhoods, I want the images they see to be of me reading to them, me sitting next to them playing Lego, me having lightsaber duels with them (and pretending to be knocked over by the Force, which gets old very quick for me, but they love), me baking with them and painting with them and jumping in puddles WITH THEM.

This is the big picture I hope they see.


  1. "Not just in word, but in deed." Nicely done. Yes, you will never look back and regret spending too much time with them, that's for certain. Good for you for taking that step back. Your boys are lucky.

  2. Why is it so hard to just be with our kids? I wish I had answers, I struggle with that all the time :) (right now even...) Such a relate-able moment!
    Thanks for playing along with our Bigger Picture Moments!! So happy to have you along for the ride!

  3. Oh, yes, EXACTLY! This is precisely the kind of moment I think about when I think about a bigger picture moment.
    Being present for my kids -- both physically and mentally -- is something I struggle with, too. I'm such a multi-tasker that I forget to sign off from all my other duties while I'm playing with me boys. This post was a great reminder. Thanks for linking up today.

  4. I get this. Oh how I get this. I suppose in some way we all do, because motherhood is about multitasking, and being tugged in so many directions. And to some extent, as you say, it's real life. But sometimes we do have to stop and just slow it down, focus on the now and relish all that we have in front of is. Great post Amy! So glad you are participating.

  5. Yes! This resonates with me. The boys and I do everything together, but how much of that time is really truly theirs? I, too, often say in a minute and when I'm done cleaning. I know they need to hear those things as well, but I also know they NEED my attention.

    I enjoyed this! You have a new follower.

  6. Oh, this is so true, isn't it? I don't want the memory my kids have of their mom to be someone always fluttering around in their peripheral view. I want to be right there, in the middle of their memories. But to DO it, is another story entirely :)

    So glad you joined us today!

  7. Good reminder and great post. I love those moments when I look around at my kiddos, am amazed that I birthed them, and breath in the incredible gifts that they are.

  8. Thanks for your thoughts. When I read, "while my boys are undoubtedly my top priority in my heart, sometimes in the daily grind they get pushed aside," I could hear my own voice. The other night as I left the house for a meeting at work, my four-year-old asked if I had one meeting or two (which often happens). In that moment I wondered what was behind his question. I wished I could be in two places at once. And yet I also know (hope) that my children learn something from seeing their mother be things in addition to their mother.

  9. So, so true! I find myself reminding myself over and over again a hundred times a day not to say wait and to be with them fully but its so hard when there is just so. much. to. do. Work, and creative, and housework...yes the bigger picture and the fall when they are both in school for a few hours a day, that is what I am looking forward to :-)

  10. I hear you. I need to focus on what matters most... my kids. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could stop my task oriented self in it's tracks, and just stop and play. Which I do sometimes... but not often enough.

  11. "All there" I love that...i want that too, to be all there for my daughter and fully indulge in her all the little moments! :) thank you for sharing!

  12. I want to be all there for whatever I'm choosing to do at the moment and then choose my moments accordingly that I might be all there for ALL of my life.

    This ain't so easy as you've pointed out. Thanks.

  13. Loved this post...I have been thinking a lot of the same things lately. For the first couple of years I was home with the kids I was SuperMommy, then I wanted to have some projects for myself and I think I went too far. I feel so overcommitted these days, and I miss just hanging out with my kids.

    My resolution for this summer is to just be. Just be with them, just be a mom. I hope I stick to it.

  14. I SO identify with this...being present, in the moment, savouring the magic in the little things...great post!


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