I don’t like watching television. Of course, I’ve watched my share of programs when I was a child. I loved the Friday afternoon British series that used to play on public TV in Israel, back when we had only one channel. I loved watching James Bond movies, the A Team, and the series about that guy who stole the fancy army helicopter. But nowadays TV holds very little attraction for me. I’d even go so far as to say that when I watch it, I get up off the sofa irritable and headachy.
This morning, therefore, when my daughter Eden asked me to watch a movie with her, I really wanted to say no. The thought passed through my mind, however, that I say “no” a lot. “No, you can’t watch a movie on a school night.” “No, you can’t have candy before dinner.” “No, we can’t go bowling right now.” I thought to myself, how many times is she going to want to watch a movie with me? Soon enough she will be grown up and have time only for her friends. So I said yes, and we watched a movie.
As expected, I ended up grumpy. Eden and I worked on her Hebrew for a while, and I struggled to remain patient. We then went out for some shopping, which I hoped would cheer me up. I tried to forget that I promised Eden I would also take her to see Puss in Boots with a friend at 5. But time, as we know, waits for no one, and at 3:30 my poor frayed nerves were getting more and more harassed, and I was thinking about the expected second movie of the day with anger and frustration. I was looking for a reason to cancel, any reason at all.
Two minutes of reading In Kristin Neff’s Self Compassion, however, and I am a new woman. As though she knows exactly how I feel, she reminds me: the past is but a memory, the future is a fantasy, but the present is a gift.
Funny what it does, remembering that there is nothing but the here and now. In the long run, in the grand scheme of things, how important is it that I “messed up” my day and watched more movies than I’m used to? How important is it that I missed writing the blog or didn’t send that query I wanted to send? Spending time with my daughter, quality or otherwise, is more important to me now, and I suspect will be more important to me in all the nows to come, than any other project. Being here with her now, on her terms, without having preconceived notions, expectations or agendas, is truly a gift for both of us. Just being here, together, now.