“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.”
― Jon Kabat-Zinn
When the moon is bright and beautiful, one of my daughters will text me: “look at the moon!” When it is a group text, her sisters will chime in: “Pretty,” “I see it!” “Awww, there’s no moon in the city mom 🙁,” or an emoji moon. I am always filled with emotion when I share the sight of the moon on those evenings. It is curious what I remember now that my children are grown and it is always comforting when they remember the precious, quiet moments that speckled their imperfect childhood. I remember late one summer night at our home three miles outside of Queens, NY I corralled my three girls into the car in search of a place where we might see a lunar eclipse; a treasure hunt I thought – we didn’t find it. There is more to that memory than my desire to introduce my children to the wonders of the night sky. During that time I was grieving, alone, and filled with fear about my future and theirs. I had to get out of the house – I just had to go somewhere away from the feelings that swirled around like a storm in my heart and mind.
A year later the turmoil that led me in search of the moon that night had passed, as all things do. We moved to Connecticut where life was simpler and the moon was easier to find; we only needed to step into our front yard, and there it was. Home become our usual stargazing spot. The harvest moon was always our favorite; its warm amber glow enhanced by the cool air, the fragrance of autumn and the girls’ growing excitement that Halloween was just around the corner–I can still hear their little voices filled with awe: “oh mommy.” Priceless.
As I told my little girls to “look at the moon,” I did not predict that in the decades ahead they would continue to notice and remember. The practice of mindfulness was not yet a daily part of my life. Unbeknownst to me, in those moments of stillness with my children I was encouraging their innate ability to notice, be present, and become one with the world around them, because there is beauty and love to be found in the darkest of times if we can just stop and look at the moon.