I can act a little obsessed about getting stuff done… It can be annoying. You might too. I call it “focus” instead, to give us the benefit of the doubt.
Have you ever wondered if we can manipulate our memories so that we remember the joy, the warm hugs, the children running into our arms, the dinner time laughter and warm conversations, the vacation inside jokes, the hilarious off-the-cuff remarks teenagers make when they first wake up… rather than the bounced check frantic days, the verbal knife in your heart the teenager slammed in to place during the argument over curfews, the “OMG, I cannot cook another dinner” hours the sobbing breakup days…
Because I/we (obsess)focus anyway, I propose that we (obsess)focus purposefully to embed in our memories some awesome stuff going on. Did your child show any inclination to do as they were asked this week? Did they ask for advice? Did they spend enough time outside the bathroom to share a conversation about the future? Those are victories in my house that I want to remember joyfully and feel content about.
I tend to live on a list. That attitude pushes me to focus on the items uncompleted- I like crossing things off. I am productive. But that list-brain also means I am usually focused on what is undone or lacking. Rather than the good stuff like “Hey- he made orange juice for the whole family today rather than just himself- woo hoo!”
What if we purposely focus NOT on what is next on the list, or what conversation topic we need to address (sex, alcohol, porn, drugs, sleep, balance, nutrition, homework… they each trade days on my brain). What if, as we drive around picking up, dropping off, loading laundry, walking to the printer at work we focus on the nutrition choices he made last night when he foraged at midnight; how appreciative she was about the extra ride I gave her yesterday; his warm hug before bed; how she got up on Sunday morning and after a brief conversation with her cat, started directly into her homework?
How will that change our memories of these last parenting days? What we focus on, is what we remember. Also- what we focus on is what we see more of.
*Today while I do dishes, sweep the floor, fold laundry, and generally cross items off the list, rather than elevating that list-brain, I will focus on the moments in the last 24 that were victorious- the little loving gestures, conversations, and intimacies that we are sharing.