Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
“Can you believe it’s been a year!?”
Ever since my son was about 10 months old, many people have commented on that milestone. They ask me if I could believe it had already been a year, asking me if it “felt like a year.”
And my response was always yes, it has been a year!
I didn’t have that frantic feeling, that time is going too fast, that he needs to stop growing like so many other great moms know. That first year felt like a full first year, not rushing by at all.
But now, in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, when I’m thinking about how I’ll mark the new year, I’m recognizing that I have a new appreciation for that 365 day journey around the sun.
Ever since becoming pregnant, the passage of time has become incrementally small. When else in your life do you consider each week so carefully? At the start of each week I would purposely be mindful of the time that had gone by, the changes that had occurred, and what was coming up next. Never before had I been so purposeful in considering a week gone by.
For awhile, I continued that practice, taking time to be mindful of the time, when the baby was born. Experienced mothers warned me that time goes by so fast, and that this is all just a phase. During those first few months when the days were so long, it felt anything but speedy. But I understand that now a bit more, now that I’m more than a full year out of brand-new-baby-phase. As the milestones have gotten fewer and farther between and my son is moving too fast to take a picture in focus, those early days of that sleepy little baby do seem far away.
So I’ve begun to practice mindfulness. Being mindful was something I learned through yoga practice, focusing intentionally on my breathing or the feeling of my muscles contracting. It’s not complicated, just a peaceful moment to clear your thoughts and focus your attention on something in the present, right in front of you. Each day I take a moment, small ones preparing dinner or helping him out of the car to be grateful and present. This small practice has helped me manage the length of the year and helps me look forward to the next one – so that as time does start to feel like it’s passing more quickly, I’m not panicking!
In preparation for this new year, I’d like to renew and refocus my mindful practice. The next phase of this is to start documenting these moments. Mindfulness in the moment is great, but I also want to save these fleeting moments and I can’t rely on my memory to be able to recall this joy later on. I decided a new year’s resolution was in order, and I subscribed to an new service called Qeepsake.
Qeepsake is designed as a quick way elicit a mindful moment, and then record it! The service texts you a question about your child, then you text back your response, and an entry is added to your child’s private journal. I think this is a brilliant way to keep me from feeling like the time is whizzing by. And someday, I’ll also have a curated collection of memories to reflect on.
Do you have any ways that you stay present and mindful throughout the year? Share your mindful tips and Rosh Hashanah reflections in the comments below!
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Pronounced: roshe hah-SHAH-nah, also roshe ha-shah-NAH, Origin: Hebrew, the Jewish new year.