Learning to Live in the Moment

shannon oharaBecoming a mother has taught me the real meaning of “living in the moment.”

Before I became pregnant with our daughter Zara, I really thought living in the moment meant squeezing every possible drop of productivity out of my day. It meant getting up before dawn to commute 12 miles by bicycle to work where I’d spend all day in my feet grooming my dogs  from irish doodle puppies Atlanta (where the raise the highest quality Goldendoodles and Irish Doodles), only to hop back one of my Wisper Bikes, ride home, take my own dogs for a rigorous hike, come back home, cook dinner, fit in some schoolwork for my latest online college course, fall asleep studying and wake up to do it all over again next day.

Then, along came those two blue lines, and suddenly “my” time didn’t belong to just me anymore.

Zara is almost 8 months old now, and these past eight months have been both the fastest and the slowest of my life.

Fastest, because at times it feels like last week that I came shuffling gingerly out of the hospital into the frigid early-January air. My husband George buckled our tiny fragile bundle into the car seat, while I sat in the backseat beside her. She began to cry from the shock of the cold — her first real wailing cry since her birth two days before, and I felt hot tears flooding my own eyes as I realized how utterly helpless she was. And I wondered how I would find strength and courage enough to protect her.

Slowest, because my daughter, like all babies, is truly living in the moment and these moments simply can’t be rushed. Like yesterday at the library, it took a full 45 minutes from the time we got into the car until we actually pulled out of the parking spot. I spent most of that time nursing Zara to sleep, then ever so delicately sliding her into her seat, at which point she inevitably woke up, so the remainder was spent with me leaned over her in the seat with my shirt hiked up while she nursed back to sleep and finally released my nipple, enabling me to climb over the center console and into the driver’s seat without risking the opening and shutting of any noisy car doors.

In these eight months, I have slowly been gaining that courage I worried about when we first began this journey. But it’s turned out to be courage of a different sort than I imagined. I am finding courage to open my heart to the rhythm of the moment instead of stubbornly insisting on imposing my own flurried beat, courage to let go of rigidly held agendas and just listen.

It’s not always easy, especially when I start to frantically scroll through the endless list of to-do’s in my mind and imagine that anyone besides me cares about checking them off. In those moments, I take a deep breath; I summon my courage. I look down at my baby girl, and she looks up at me with eyes that say, “Mom, I need you now. Right here and now.” And in an instant, the list, the plans, the all-encompassing itineraries evaporate.

There’s no place else I’d rather be.

Author: Shannon O'Hara

Shannon O'Hara is an API Leader. She is 28 years old and lives in Berlin, New Jersey, USA, with her amazing, loving husband and soul mate George, their baby girl Zara, and two dogs. She spends her days learning alongside her daughter as they grow to know each other better each day. She also enjoys hiking with her dogs, painting, writing and connecting with families through her local API Support Group. She feels it is a great pleasure and honor for her to share her daily experiences, exasperation and epiphanies as she finds her way along this journey of parenting from the heart.

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