It’s that moment when you just want to freeze time – bottle it up to savor and enjoy. So, when was the last time you had a “keeper moment?”
Author Connie Sokol explains how to open up your emotional eyes to the beautiful life around you.
Several months ago, our city had a power outage. As a family, we had barely sat down to dinner when suddenly the house became cave-like black.
At first, we sat frozen to our chairs (soon to be literally, we supposed). The fact that we live in the mountains, and the knowledge that right outside our door are lions, tigers and bears (well, cougars, deer and very large squirrels), added to the eerie feeling.
Thanks to six children, however, the atmosphere quickly changed to an adventurous mood. With surprising ease, said children located flashlights (which they’d sworn a week ago were lost) and we gathered around the gas fireplace in the family room.
While the fire warmed us, we played Name 5 and Speed (with two daughters holding flashlights), the dog snored, and my teenage son strummed measures of various pop songs that everyone knew the lyrics to but me (“That’s because all you listen to, Mom, are conference talks”).
That was a Keeper Moment.
Even though the power returned not 30 minutes later, and life went on as usual (though we did leave most of the lights off), we experienced a family emotional snapshot to remember.
When was your last Keeper Moment? Was it nurturing your children or sitting with a friend? Trying a new skill or dealing with an emergency? These kinds of experiences can be keepers because unexpectedly, our routine changes, and so does our reaction.
With the power outage, I noticed the absence of electronics and how easily everyone adjusted without them. Note to self — more non-electronic nights won’t put kids in a state of shock. The magic occurred with no distractions, focusing on each other, and just being.
Keeper Moments also engage all of our senses, which creates a whole experience, not the typical daily fragmented kind. We feel, think and process in a way that multitasking doesn’t allow. We let down and let go of relentless to-do lists or should-be expectations. Instead, we simply soak in the moment.
Last week, my baby became ill. For an entire day, he only wanted to snuggle and be assured I was literally within his grasp. Instead of bemoaning pressing errands or mounting laundry, I gave into his needs fully and completely. For hours we cuddled, in and out of naps, both of us wrapped in the warm blankets as the snow drifted outside.
What a Keeper Moment that was, and still is in my heart and mind.
Here are a few ways to open your emotional eyes to potential Keeper Moments:
1. Be Mindful.
Instead of running through the day, focused on our To Do list, be more mindful and aware of those possible keeper moments, then create them. It can be leaving a sweet note for your child, listening to a teenager sharing a small emotional victory, or putting a favorite treat in your husband’s car before he leaves for work. If we pay attention there are a sprinkling of opportunities to have those small moments that make you smile, literally, and put that lightness in your step, making the day go sweeter. So try posting a sticky note on your car radio or a memo note on your phone that says, “Keeper Moment?” Then take the moment when it comes to you, don’t push it away or postpone it.
2. Be flexible.
I think this is one of the main reasons we don’t experience more Keeper Moments. As a mom with so many variables–children, activities, work, etc.–we can get so structured that we’re bugged when our fabulous schedule is interrupted or goes awry. But most keeper moments are unexpected. So when plans shift, we can shift our perspective and not see it as a bother, but an adventure, and say, wow, I wonder how this is going to turn out, instead of, oh, this is ruined.
3. Be in the moment.
So often in the busyness we’re missing the very thing we’re craving–connection, joy, moments that matter for whatever reason. The Keeper Moments come but then we brush them aside or acknowledge briefly and move on to the next thing, missing the cream. Instead, we can hit the Pause button and soak it in, taking a mental and emotional snapshot, even saying out loud, that’s a keeper. When I have these moments, I’ve learned to tell my husband or children, to point them out and share them, otherwise my children don’t know I’ve just thought about how sweet and wonderful they are.