I Stopped and Really saw My Daughter - Moments of Mindfulness
By Lynn Jenkins - 24th April 2012
There are some moments with my kids that are so precious I just want the moment to be permanently recorded forever and stored somewhere safe. I want this so I can re-live the moment and tap into the wonderful feelings that swam over me at the time.
For five minutes today I had one of these moments. I was simply sitting on the floor brushing my five year old daughter’s hair while we both listened to Alvin and the Chipmunks soundtrack (of all things!). And I haven’t felt so peaceful and content in a very long time.
As Alvin, Simon and Theo chirped out the words to one of their classics, I carefully brushed the knots out of my daughter’s gorgeous, honey-coloured hair. Brushing slowly, noticing how the blonde strands of hair mix perfectly with the light brown strands, and how the ends sit just below her olive brown shoulders. I noticed her chubby little arms in her sundress move about as she did some sitting-down dance moves, and smiled at her attempts to click her fingers near her ears. Then she turned around to smile at me and we looked directly into each other’s eyes for a moment – bliss…
In this moment I was completely, utterly, un-interruptingly in the presence of my daughter – and I honestly call it one of my favourite parenting moments (despite the Chipmunks!). I wasn’t doing anything fandangled, planned or structured – I was simply brushing her hair. An everyday activity that I rush through every morning to get on with the day’s events. But today it brought so much joy.
I believe this is because my mind was full of my daughter. As I noticed the minute details of her little body and her actions, my mind wasn’t able to wander to the sheets I had to get out of the washing machine or what I would throw together for dinner. My mind was with her. And because my mind was with her, I could notice her. I could really ‘see’ her. I see her everyday but I see her with a busy mind. And as the quote goes: "We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are."
When I have my mind full of work, house chores, and what I am yet to do, I see my daughter through my eyes but it’s like they’re covered with a veil of preoccupation. Today I had a moment of seeing her with that veil lifted. The work, chores and things to do were still around but they were put to the side for a moment so I could see my gorgeous girl with an unobstructed view.
This is a sight I would like to see regularly. But it seems that seeing her this way is something I'd have to choose to do because life is busy. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness and therefore see my daughter through that ‘preoccupied veil’. But how easy is it to sit on the floor, brush hair and listen to music?
Perhaps the hardest thing is remembering that it is the easy, simple things that are often the best, and that often bring the most joy when it comes to our kids.