How can you capture a moment in time? Hold it. Emboss it. Burn it into your heart and soul. Into your memory and the very core of your being. How can you remember forever an ordinary moment on an ordinary day that for that very same moment seemed to linger, to breathe, to give space to realize that the ordinary is so so marvelous indeed. Tonight, that happened. On an evening where I am supposed to be quarantined to the corner wearing noise canceling head phones, allowing (forcing) time for my own thoughts to be straight and soul to be fed, I find myself standing in the middle of the living room, holding our sweet, small boy as he finally found peace with his nursing position (apparently me seated was not his preferred posture), and instead of wishing I were somewhere else, doing something else, I am so so satisfied with being right there. With giving up the task at hand. With putting down the devices. With spending some moments unconnected to the outside world. Instead, connecting, focusing with all 12 and a quarter pounds of our 5 month old son, whose eyes are piercing.
Those eyes speak words beyond the scope of infant expression. They scan expectantly, just waiting for other eyes to lock with. They engage and connect, and then they smile, wide and bright and sincere. They bounce rapidly and stare intently to catch focus of a dangling toy within his reach. They reveal desire. They plead to be picked up, they beg for sleep, they yearn to be fed. They become like glittering stars when they fall on his sister’s equally elated eyes, and they turn his entire face to one of joyful delight. Tonight, they slowly turned from panicked and aggravated to soothed and content.
And, as we stood there together, his body hanging still and quiet from my arms, I wanted to capture it. I wanted to be able to think back to this moment and remember it was sweet. It was still. It was not busy. It was intentional. It was ordinary. But, that was it–it was ordinary. The ordinary slips into the file of sweet baby days, which rolls into sweet baby months and to sweet baby years, and then the ordinary, specific, middle-of-the-living-room experiences vanish into all the others.
Recently, our friend who listens to a lot of NPR said that he heard that the memories we have are really only thoughts about the events that actually took place, rather than the events themselves. If you never think about an event or a moment again, it is not a memory; it is forgotten. You could very well watch yourself put your keys down on the shelf in the kids’ room between the raggedy anne doll and the anpanman comic book, but if you do not think to remember that location, the memory is gone (and so are the keys). So, perhaps the same is true about moments then. I am most definitely present when Tamar runs at full speed to give my legs a hug while I’m holding Bram, turning down the stove, and messaging David about dinner, but unless I think to remember the “ready…set…go!” she repeats to herself before she unleashes herself across the room, or the giggles as she approaches, or the huge teethy smile and head tilted back as she looks up to me for my reaction, the moment will pass and be gone, and like the keys, essentially lost.
So, I guess that’s the answer. Capturing takes thought.
Thought takes reflection. Reflection takes space. Space takes intention. Intention is a state of mind with purpose. So, my hope, my prayer, then, is that I live in that state of mind. Where the ordinary moments have a chance to linger, so that some moments I can snatch up and keep them bright and ordinary and accessible…and marvelous indeed.