In My Shoes
Gratitude, Motherhood

Things I Want to Remember: Embracing the Kairos Time

Parenting is hard work. Really hard work. It’s harder than any other thing I’ve ever done. But then the most rewarding things in life don’t always come easy.

Glennon Melton eloquently sums up this conflict when she writes:

I think parenting young children (and old ones, I’ve heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they’ve heard there’s magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it’s hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.

That “haggard and annoyed and angry” woman in the grocery check-out she describes, that’s been me. I love my son and think he is the most amazing person I’ve ever met. But sometimes, well sometimes we have days that make me want to knock back a couple of dry vodka martinis.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives, the “Chronos” time, the “my god is it bed time yet” time. Because you’ve got to navigate that time every day. Get groceries, run errands, prepare meals, keep the kids entertained. But when I look back on these early years of my son’s life, I certainly don’t want to focus on those things. I want to focus on what Melton calls the “Kairos” time, those “magical moments in which time stands still.”

So in an effort to remember those Kairos moments, the ones that make it all worthwhile, I’ve been writing them down. I’d actually started this some time ago but reading her article really brought home to me why I started doing this in the first place. I wanted to have something, 10 years from now, to look back on and remind me of the moments that made me laugh and smile. The moments that melted my heart.

Things I Want to Remember

…running to me when I pick him up from nursery, jumping and shouting “that’s my mummy!”

…repeatedly showing me, with pride, how he could blow his own nose with a tissue and then put the tissue in the bin. He repeated this process at least five times in a row. Get a tissue. Blow. Put the tissue in the bin. Repeat.

…doing E.T. fingers with daddy through the railings in the stairs.

…taking a book out of my hand and saying “I read it mummy.” He picked out Monkey and Me and “read” it to me all the way through. I turned the pages but he told me the story.

…taking the rubbish to the bin, of his own accord, at Starbucks. Watching him try to shove an entire Starbucks muffin into his face all at once is, well, glorious.

…running full speed into the Oxford University Natural History Museum shouting “Dinosaur, Grrrrr!” Complete with hand gestures.  Standing by a rock in the museum with a look of intense focus.  The woman next to him saying to me “He really likes that rock.”  I say “it’s either that or he was doing a poo.”  I was right.

…saying “that’s rubbish” when his little race cars don’t go far enough across the kitchen floor.

…squealing with delight when I press my lips against the outside of the shower door.

…insisting on getting out his tools to help the gate man with some repairs.

…saying “tom-AH-to.” Oh, he’s English.

…giving the iPad a hug and a kiss as he said “night night” to daddy who was away on business. FaceTime, brilliant.

These are just a few of the mundane but magical things the Little Monkey has been up to this month. You’ll see more of this, more of the things I want to remember.

If you’re a parent, how do you remind yourself of these moments and not get caught up in the day-to-day?

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  • Reply Matma January 30, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I get a photo of my whole family – and they are all happy.
    My 2 year old grandson phones me to say happy birthday.
    My 9 year old grandson sends me an Email from his new IPod.
    My youngest son does the ‘Thumbs Up’ to his parents on receipt of his degree (minus one eyebrow).
    My eldest son says ‘I know you did your best Mum’.
    I can’t just pick out just one for himself – that’s impossible.
    My Dad gets a hole in one.
    My grandmother telling me stories from ‘the olden days’.
    All family stuff – what does that say about me?

  • Reply Amanda January 31, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Brilliant post Katherine and the Momastery article is also pure genius. I understand and recognise everything you say. And then I feel guilty because I’m not with my child all day, most days. I get 2 hours a day and I SHOULD relish those hours. I SHOULD bounce home after 9 hours in the office, after the bone-numbing boredom of corporate meetings and summon the energy to read books, play shop, bath and sing with my child and I try. I really do. But some days it’s all I can do to lie on the sofa next to her and let her stroke my hair whilst she watches Waybuloo and In the Night Garden. I’m going to start my list of Kairos moments too. Then maybe in a year rather than feeling so guilty for being a working Mum I can look back and feel elated that I had those moment swith my little girl.

    • Reply katlightner February 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      I know it’s hard not to feel the guilt but you’re doing amazing and she is an amazing little. I would think that a quiet moment while she’s twirling your hair makes it all worthwhile. X

  • Reply Matma February 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Do you suppose that people who don’t care, don’t feel guilty?

  • Reply Mom February 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Brilliant! Your writing is splendid! Luv u!

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