There are times when I become a moving target. This time of year is typically one of those times.
When there is always one more thing I could get done …
When the calendar severely lacks open white spaces …
When the hustle and bustle overtake the peaceful silences …
When decorating, wrapping, cleaning, and shopping take priority over smiling, laughing, breathing, and memory making …
When my goal becomes surviving each day rather than living each day …
When my line of vision looks past the people and only sees the duties …
When I don’t have time to point in wonder or pause in gratitude
When my day is so packed that my blessings get covered up …
The circumstances described above result in me becoming a moving target. And if you know anything about moving targets, they are difficult to reach—even by those with the best intentions. I know because this is how I used to live: Always busy doing … existing in perpetual planning mode … always looking ahead to what was next on the agenda.
The ones who loved me had a hard time reaching me.
So I missed out on the love. I missed out on the greatest part of living: To love and be loved.
Granted, I didn’t know what I was missing at the time, but I do now. And I use this priceless awareness whenever I feel myself slipping back into old ways, like in the month of December when there is more of everything—more stress, more pressure, more commitments, more expectations, more invitations, more temptations, and more distractions.
But this December, I don’t want to be a moving target. So today I’m reflecting back on an experience that happened on Day One of my Hands Free journey—an unforgettable moment that revealed the cost of being a moving target. It was the moment I realized I didn’t want to miss the love, not one more day.
I was in the middle of making school lunches and my younger daughter was watching the Lion King on the sofa. My laptop was open, the phone was buzzing, and I was thinking about all the things I needed to do that day. Unexpectedly, I looked up and noticed my child—I mean, really noticed her. A little voice inside me said, “There is nothing more important than being with her right now.”
Without closing the bag of bread, without thinking about my packed agenda, without even glancing at the clock, I left that half-made sandwich on the counter to go to my child.
As soon as my body hit the couch cushions, my child immediately drew to my side like a magnet. It was there, while secured tightly against me, that the most wondrous thing happened. My daughter brought my hand to her lips and gently kissed the inside of my palm.
I closed my eyes to rejoice in that moment realizing with clarity that this—this pausing while the rest of the world keeps going—is living.
But before I could do too much celebrating, I had to face reality. Yes, that was a wondrous moment that had just occurred, but such tender moments would not be so rare if I actually stopped and paused once in awhile.
And that’s when this little nugget of wisdom popped into my head and has stuck with me ever since:
No matter how much she wants to, needs to, or would love to, my child cannot kiss a moving target.
I’ve since learned that this truth applies to my other relationships, as well:
No matter how much he wants to, needs to, or would love to, my spouse cannot converse with the back of my head as I get “one more thing” accomplished.
No matter how much my sister wants to, needs to, or would love to, she cannot get the support she needs when I let her call go to voicemail.
No matter how much my parents want to, need to, or would love to, they cannot hear about what’s going on in my life without my concerted effort to be available.
No matter how much my friend wants to, needs to, or would love to, she cannot feel loved and appreciated when I have no time to stop and listen.
So here I am on this first day of December with the whole glorious month ahead of me. I feel quite certain about how I don’t want these thirty-one days to play out.
I don’t want to be a moving target this December. I don’t want to miss what really matters in the name of productivity, perfection, and busyness.
This December, I want to be present … available … and still so love can reach me. Here is my vow. Feel free to adopt it as your own:
No Moving Target December Vow
I vow to make time to sit on the sofa with my loves tucked under each arm … even if it’s to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the 37th time.
I vow to designate time to be still with only the sound of my breath on my mind … even if I have to lock myself in the bathroom and turn on the fan.
I vow to spend less time trying to look “just right” and instead do something that makes my heart feel “just right” … even if this means banning the mirror or throwing on a hat each time I walk out the door.
I vow to listen to my aging parent’s childhood memories and my neighbor’s current woes … even if there is dinner to be made or the sidewalk is chilly.
I vow to feel the weight of my child’s body beneath my legs as she sits on my lap … even if there are a million reasons why I should get up and keep moving.
I vow to respect to my body. When it needs rest, I will rest. When it needs exercise, I will exercise … even if it means abandoning the “extras” people have come to expect of me.
I vow to be spontaneous, willing to surrender my master plan to allow things to naturally unfold … even if this feels uncomfortable, messy, and irresponsible.
I vow to ask for help rather than trying to do it all … even if that means the task is accomplished differently than I would have completed it.
I vow to invest my time and energy on the meaningful, memorable, and lasting rather than on superficial, temporary, and fleeting.
I vow to be a magnet – a magnet that attracts positivity, loving connection, and warm bodies resting against me.
This December I vow to be
It’s the gift they always wanted.
It’s the gift I always needed.
This December, I won’t be a moving target.
Because I don’t want to miss the love …
Not one more day.
My friends, undivided presence is a hot commodity these days. It’s in scarce supply. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you would like to solidify your own ‘No Moving Target December Vow' so you don’t miss the love, grab a small notebook to record what happens when you take time each day to be still and present. I invite you to plop down with nothing in hand and just be. Watch as loved ones draw to you like magnets. Whether you are available for ten minutes, twenty minutes, or two hours, I anticipate something wonderful happening in that time. Each night before bed, take a moment to jot down the experience in your notebook. This is exactly how my Moments that Matter Collection started. I wrote down the Kiss on the Hand experience on a used envelope in the kitchen. This piece of paper was the start of a binder full of connective Hands Free moments that would not have happened if I’d continued my moving target existence. It also became the start of a new habit that changed my life. Feel free to come back to this post or The Hands Free Revolution Facebook page anytime this month to share your experiences and inspire us all!
*You can read more about my Kiss on the Hand Moment in Chapter 1 of my book, Hands Free Mama, and learn how that connection started a journey that transformed my distracted life. I’d be honored if you would consider my book as a gift for someone you love this holiday season.
**Here are several more resources to help love reach you more easily this December written by wonderful colleagues of mine who continually write and share enlightening messages in a truly positive way: