Moments Between the Moments
Instead of stressing out with attempts to create magical, Hallmark-esque experiences with your children, focus instead on finding ‘moments between the moments’ to savor.
On a snowy Saturday night when my son John was a sophomore in high school, I experienced one such moment. His buddies were over watching a football game that ended at 10:30 p.m. They asked me to drive them to their friend’s hockey game that began at 11.
My initial thought was that it was 11 at night and there already was 3 inches of snow on the ground. Plus, I was tired. But I smiled, said sure, and off we went. And I am so glad I relented because we had a blast on the ride there and back. I put on some tunes, and they sang along loudly and out of key. There was much conversation about girls and who liked who. The boys did what teens often do on such car rides; they acted as if I wasn’t even there. It was an unplanned, spontaneous moment I will never forget.
I heard the expression ‘moments between moments’ in an article by Ryan Holiday in which he relates a story about his meeting with Seattle Seahawks football coach Pete Carroll. Holiday asked the coach how he managed to stay sane in such a demanding, chaotic work environment, and Carroll responded, “You have to find the moments between the moments.” Author Jeff Goins uses the term ‘in-between moments’ to describe the need to slow down and let ourselves be present for the unsung moments of life. These in-between moments make up the vast majority of our lives, yet most people find no value in them at all as they rush impatiently from one experience to the next.
I love spending afternoons at the lake during our summer camp, but I also appreciate the little moments associated with these times. I have so many beautiful memories from the walk to and from. One night years ago, I was walking up from the lake with a small group of campers when we stopped to lie down on the ground and stargaze for a few minutes. We all made a wish as we looked up and claimed one of the stars in the Big Dipper as “our star.” Twenty years later, we all still remember that moment fondly, and we still point out the star every time we walk up that hill. This kind of experience of spontaneous fun or closeness exemplifies moments between moments.
Instead of only focusing on birthday parties, graduations, prom night or weddings, cultivate mindful awareness of the more subtle but fulfilling moments that make up the vast majority of our existence. Savor them and the joy they bring.
Tim Jordan, M.D., is a behavioral pediatrician who works with girls in grade school through college in his counseling practice and camps. His newest book is Letters from My Grandfather: Timeless Wisdom for a Life Worth Living. For more information, visit drtimjordan.com.