on valentine’s day, mindfully

valentines flower love

(note my puffy pregnant feet, and the crayon scribbles Riley made on our dining table!)

I write this as R plays around me on the floor. This is my third attempt at writing, as he has been having intermittent struggles with the power-cord to my laptop – signalling the need for attention. He imitates a siren as he passes. “It’s a rescue car”, and “it might be”… something.

{edit: This is now round four, as I had to abandon writing soon after the following photograph. But R’s asleep now, so we should be good. Fingers crossed}

Yesterday was Valentine’s day. J was sick with a virus and spent most of the day sleeping. R and I went for an early walk. We took a basket and a pair of scissors with us, and collected flowers and leaves.

riley cutting flowers

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on a quote I read somewhere about being present in the moment:

“If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes”. What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realising the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink the tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future — and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life”

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

This is something I have been working towards for a long time. But, as a parent, it’s my job to think several steps ahead, so I do often find myself missing the moment. Instead, I think about the next thing that needs doing (a nappy change, a feed, the washing, etc.) and feel impatient when, for example, it takes a while to get down the stairs, or R disagrees with the trajectory we’re on (which happens often – it’s his job!). To make things more difficult, I have become very ambitious lately. Yesterday, for example, marked a day of many ‘missed’ deadlines; I had hoped to have stocked my etsy shop, to have made a sale, to have written more, to be ordering things I had already designed, to be more on the way towards… something!

So timely was our slow walk. The air was fresh and fragrant. We made note of every flower we could find, and talked about the different shapes and colours of leaves, falling. We stopped when plants were within Riley’s reach, and allowed time for him to spend lunging at the leaves with scissors: open and close, open and close. R enjoyed waving at strangers and cars, and we sped down hills and up again.

I had to wait before I could arrange the flowers. There was eating and changing and sleeping to come. Instead of rushing through these things, I took time and deliberate care, thinking; eat with R to eat with R, change his nappy to change his nappy, fall asleep to fall asleep.

It might sound silly, but as I often feel as though I’m always ‘on’, this approach has been revolutionary. It’s helping me to enjoy whatever I am doing, and to connect more fully with my son – who seems always to be in the present, fully immersed in whatever it is that has captured his attention. I am trying to let the other things wait, just a bit longer, while I spend time spending time.


katie :)

p.s. here’s a preview of something like what I wanted to have been selling. I’d love to hear your feedback!!

brooch - hands forming heart shape

(it’s a small brooch, to be sold as a made object, pattern, or kit)

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