I received a “Joy Jar” this past weekend at a retreat I attended. The weekend getaway is called the Joy Source Weekend put on by Julie McGrath and she organizes it every year. I will be going back and I hope you will join me! But I digress… My first gift from the jar were the words, “Be Mindful”. Last week I was just thinking about how saying I am a mother sometimes doesn’t feel real. That probably sounds strange since I work from home and when my kids are not at school I am at their beckon call. I thought about this some more. I realized that I do many of my parenting duties without thinking or paying attention, like being on autopilot. Oftentimes I am thinking about the workout I am going to do after supper, the project I should do after the kids go to bed or some other unrelated thought.
The Joy Jar made me realize that the experience of parenting would be so much more rewarding if I was truly in the moment when I made the children lunch or read a book with them. When I am doing these simple, repetitive activities I am thinking about what I need to do next or the next 5 things I need to do and this task is just standing in the way. On some occasions I have been really “there” but not consistently.
This week I took the jar’s advice. Tuesday, while I was making the kids their lunches, I wrote notes on their sandwich bags with blue sharpie. That afternoon my son handed me a tiny heart with the words “I Love You” written on it as soon as he got off the bus. I opened it and smiled and thanked him and he said, “I wanted to tell you I loved you too, just like you said on my sandwich bag.” I have tears in my eyes as I write this because it really didn’t take me any extra time to be in the moment that morning, but it made an impact on his day and mine.
Trust me, I am going to find other ways to be mindful this weekend. Please comment with your mindful experiences!