I recently read a book written by a friend whose mother had passed away after many long years of decline from Alzheimers. It was the most amazing book on “mothering” I have ever read. April Perry is a powerful voice in podcasting and the Internet (check out Power of Moms and Learn, Do, Become) with tens of thousands of followers. She is a loving wife, mom to four children and an astute entrepreneur. April and her husband, Eric, work together and love it. How April had the time to devote to writing Thursdays with Zoe is a miracle in itself. It is a tender book of stories about relationship that engages, warms the heart and certainly lays out examples of incredible parenting, no matter the ages of your children. I loved it. Even though my children are grown and my influence is much different than it was in their formative years, I am still their mother and that will never change. They still come to me and share their lives, their disappointments, their achievements and their dreams and I pray they always will. There is no expiration date on mothering.
Zoe was April’s mother and she was a pretty incredible woman. One nugget I gleaned from April’s writing is that her mother was always present. She was available. I find that in our busy world today, being present and available is just about non-existent. How can one be truly “in the moment” when the cell phone is dinging, the deadlines are looming, FB is beaconing, and there is too much noise and busyness? It’s hard. Even for a grandmother.
I remember a time I became frustrated because I was writing a book, teaching and attending art classes, and feeling overwhelmed with all I had on my To Do list. But I also had grandkids around clamoring for my attention. It was a light-bulb moment for me realizing not every decision is based on how effectively I can multitask. Some decisions are simply either/or. Trying to do my work while putting the grandkids off simply wasn’t working well for anyone. I learned that I needed to be in the moment with them. To be available to teach, play, laugh, learn and grow with them.
How available are you these days? It’s a question that often runs through my head. I am, admittedly, a pretty busy lady. I have commitments, appointments, housework, writing, art classes, teaching, speaking, and a zillion other things I do. And every one of those things are choices I make on a daily basis. But in our family there has always been a constant theme of “relationship above all” that trumps much of what I do to fill my days. I carve out time to answering emails and text threads from my children, play word games with a couple of my grandchildren and meeting a friend for lunch who needs to get out and have some girl time because she is lonely. Those things are important to me. And, let’s face it, the things that are most important are the things we put at the top of our To Do lists.
April Perry penned how her mother would say, “There you are! I’ve been waiting for you…..” when one of her children would come to her. What a powerful message to convey. Zoe took time to let others know they were important to her….not just her children and grandchildren. Her friends and neighbors were also the recipients of her unconditional love and generosity.
Lots to be learned always. Reading Thursdays with Zoe made me want to be more “in the present” on many levels. More in tune with the world around me and less so with the cyber world that often commands more attention than is healthy. It’s a challenge…and a choice…. every day.