I was awakened at 2:51 AM yesterday morning by the unmistakable rumble of an earthquake. It was a relatively small one, 4.7, but it shook me awake. My daughter shouted from the other room. I realize I have failed her in the Emergency Preparedness training department because she immediately ran to my room and jumped in bed with me. It only lasted a few moments and, in my 54 years, I have experienced many of these tremors living in the Pacific Northwest. I probably should have run for a doorway. But my lack of good sense is not the topic of this story so I will let that go for now. Buttercup the Boxer Pup apparently knew it was coming because she was already hunkered down by the time the quake jolted us awake (apparently it is every dog for herself in an earthquake). We lay there snuggled together. Buttercup and my daughter were very distressed by the whole thing. Buttercup was panting uncontrollably. My daughter was furiously Googling earthquakes which of course brought images and statistics of the worst-case scenarios. Not helpful. Don’t misunderstand me, emergency preparedness is very important. In the end, that is all that you can do- prepare. When Mother Nature tries to wipe the planet clean or the earth tries to shake us off, we are powerless to stop it. We can prepare but we cannot prevent most natural disasters. I hate that. Literally. I hate it. I hate that something bad could happen that is completely beyond my control. I hate that I can prepare and practice and do all the right things, and still an earthquake (tornado, illness, freak accident, hurricane….) could change everything. I am a planner. I am always thinking about the long game. I believe what we do today makes a difference in our tomorrows. I do believe all of that is true. It is also true that we live in the present moment. It is also true that we cannot control the millions of things that might happen in the next moment. So, the present moment matters.
That is what occurred to me as I was snuggled in close to my daughter and our pup. This present moment matters. It matters to let her talk it out. It matters to give comfort and reassurance. It matters to listen. While we were laying there waiting for the aftershocks, I was reminded of one of my favorite moments from her childhood. When she was very little, just out of a crib and into a big girl bed, she would listen for her dad to get in the shower in the morning. Quiet as a little mouse, she would pad across the hall and slide into bed next to me. She would snuggle in close and fall asleep with her warm cheek on my shoulder and her tiny hand on my arm. In the morning, she would have a dreamy look as I would get out of bed to get ready for work. Invariably the pups would jump in bed with her as soon as I left, soaking up the warmth I left behind. As I did my hair and makeup, she would chatter away telling me everything that was on her mind. I can feel the smile now, just thinking about it, that I had hearing her describe her adventures and discoveries. A moment. A string of moments. That is all that life is – a string of moments. Each one a gift. Not all of them are good. Most we cannot control. We should not miss a single one of them. I thought that morning: I should get up and check the house for damage; I should call my husband (I did); I should do something. Then I realized I was doing something. I was having a very special moment with a very special person. A moment I was never getting back. And so, I laid there awake for a couple of hours – in the moment.
I selected this picture because it reminded me that when she was little, the best moments were the simplest ones. Just holding her, in my arms, heart and mind, while she slept seemed like the most important thing in the moment. It still is.