My sense of wonder is sadly out of practice.
Part of my problem, I know, is that I don’t take time. My life is so busy. I work at a mentally demanding full-time job, I do the majority of the domestic work that is required at our home, I deal with most of the work generated by parenting. There is never a time when I don’t have a to-do list; writing one out for the weekend is part of my regular Friday ritual. On the very rare occasion when I do find myself with a moment of spare time, I usually spend it roaming the house trying to figure out what I should be doing.
The ability to recognize wonder requires that you have the time to breathe, to look around, to SEE what is in the world. I know I used to do so, but when I try to remember feeling a sense of wonder recently, I fail. The most recent example I can think of: just before Mini was six months old, laying in bed with him as he slept, stroking his fat little legs and his soft skin, and thinking “I made that.” And just being amazed that this boy was here with me started out a two CELLS. That was 7 months ago. And before that? Two years ago, when I saw “O” at the Bellagio. THAT was amazing, and if you ever have the chance to see it, I highly recommend it. I would go again in a heartbeat.
Two example in two years. That is sad.
I read a lot of writers talking about living mindfully. I try to do so, and have tried especailly hard since Mini arrived on the scene. But for me, that ends up living in the moments when I am with him. And I think that there is a difference between the two. I think that to live mindfully, to recognize the specialness of a moment, to feel a sense of wonder, you have to have some perspective from outside the moment as you live it. When I am with my boy, I try to be completely present, completely open to him and not distracted by other “stuff.” I recognize how special the time I have with him is, and that it will only be a short time before his infanthood is over. But inherent in that is that I lose sight of the moments we experience together unless I reflect on them later.
Maybe a good analogy, since I’m finding it difficult to clarify these thoughts, much less explain them, is thinking about being in a moment versus taking a picture of that moment. The photographer has a wider view of what is happening and can frame the moment and the participants in a way that will tell the story to someone outside the event. But the person in the picture is absorbed in the experience that is being captured. I am most often the person in the picture, and rarely able to frame the moment, even in my own mind, in such a way that I can understand how wondrous it is.
Which all just reinforces how important it is for me to be recording this time. I have my camera with me constantly and have thousands of pictures of the last few years. It gives me a visual record of the major events that we do together (zoo, birthdays, easter bunny, etc.) But so many of the moments I want to record, a camera is just not appropriate or available. Today for example, we brought the christmas tree into the house. His face, watching Manly and I set it into the base — amazing. He was like, Holy SHIT there is a TREE in my HOUSE!!! He walked around it, just reaching out a hand and barely brushing the branches, then sat down on his knees in front of it and did his happy bounce with his hands pressed together like he was going to start clapping. And had the biggest cheese grin on his face the whole time. And while I realized at the moment that it was really cool, it was only just now, writing this down, that I realized how much that is a memory I want to keep.