Forget your phone.
This is a dare. A big time, double-dog, super important dare. And I bet you can do it. And I bet you'll be happier.
I did. And I am.
It was your average Tuesday. We were overscheduled, over-tired, overworked, and just plain over it. Summer, you guys. Every year, it gets crazier. More things to do, more things to plan, more places to go, more demands and overall, less and less time. This was one of those summer Tuesdays where all of it was happening. I can't remember really, what all of it even was but I remember it felt like a lot.
So, when we got an invite to visit my sister-in-law and her beautiful family for dinner, you bet we got in the car and headed her way without thinking twice. Somebody is cooking for me, come on. You'd jump at it too. I did think about bringing marionberry ice cream for dessert and a bottle of wine for drinking. I did not think about bringing my iPhone. This never happens. Ever. I mean, bringing wine - yes. Forgetting my phone, no.
After my initial panic rinsed away, I thought out loud well, I don't really need it, a reaction that was immediately followed by sarcastic agreement and laughs from my husband.
Thanks for the support, bro. I got this.
Anyway, I spent the evening totally hands-on with the kiddos and fully present with the meal and completely involved in soaking up every single moment. Elsie and her cousin (just three months apart and acting more like siblings than cousins most days), they pranced around the backyard, picking dandelions out of the grass. The setting sunlight danced on their faces and the soft breeze slowly drifted the white puffs of dandelion seeds through the air, carrying wishes from both girls.
This moment. This moment and so many more moments that night were captured and neatly filed away in my never forget this moment folder, deep in my mind. This folder is filling up fast. We were gone for hours and I was so swept away by the richness of this summer night that I didn't think about emails or text messages or my calendar for the next day. I didn't wonder about Instagram or Facebook and the only pictures I took were mental ones. Really, really good mental ones.
These are the moments that only happen once. We don't get a second chance. Time doesn't give us do-overs and there's no rewind button on our lives.
I started thinking about all of the moments like this that I've missed already. All of the magic and beauty that happened right before my eyes, except my eyes were zombie-like glued to a screen, so I missed them.
The next day was a scorcher, and we found ourselves outside doing the evening chores of watering the garden and feeding the chickens and just enjoying some fresh air and the chance to be outside. My phone, it was inside.
The little one, wearing brand new "light-up shoes" was in command of the garden hose, and proceeded to create mud puddles, and then jump in those mud puddles and then laugh at the level of muddy she became. That moment, it was priceless. Her laughter, her smiles, her pure enjoyment of just being.
And to think, I could have missed it because I was behind a screen. I don't want to miss anything. Things are moving too fast to miss the special parts.
(I did run to get it to snap a photo, because...just because...it was meant for a frame on the wall).
Sometimes we need to be tethered to the world, we need to check the emails and watch the calendars and update Facebook so grandmas can see pictures of our lives and our families. Sometimes we're so tired that we want to do something mindless, like thumb-scroll across social media. Sometimes we need to disengage from the day and these channels are easy ways to do that. I get it. But that's just sometimes. It can't be all of the time.
So I challenge you. I dare you.
Forget your phone. Forget it inside the house for an hour or leave it on your nightstand for an afternoon.
Forget it and you'll create some extra-special memories that you'll never want to forget.