There are a handful of quotes and book passages that I think of often during different life moments. When it comes to mothering, this quote from Anna Quindlen is always in my mind:
"The biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while [mothering]. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less."
Building a writing career while raising a family often has me running in multiple directions. I’m sure I’m not alone. It is in the harried moments—the times I find myself rushing from one thing to the next or even wishing no one in my family actually required food—that I find a sense of calm by thinking of Quindlen’s quote. It helps me find greater perspective and embrace the moment—even if both kids are going crazy, my e-mail is exploding and an editor’s name is popping up on my caller ID. I just take a deep breath, look at my kiddos and remind myself that one day I will wish I could remember the details of our days.
Then I pull my iPhone out of my pocket and snap a picture. I know the images that burn so bright in my mind today will fade with time and I want to do everything I can to help remember these precious moments—even if it is with an imperfect iPhone photo.