Every day I make a point to hug each member of my family. Not just a quick hello or goodbye hug, but a longer, out-of-the-blue kind of hug. Sometimes I hear, "Oh, Mom" or see an eye roll, but they let me hug, and they hug back.
I say nothing. I am quiet and I breathe. I let go of what happened before and what comes next, and just hug.
After a minute or two we move on, back to our busy day, but for those moments I am there, fully aware. These hugs have become a mindfulness practice, a way to find a few minutes of peace and stability.
It's hard for me to believe that my daughters are already 9, 8 and 5. It's even harder for me to believe that they were once 7 pounds and completely dependent upon me. But that's the cycle. We move in and out of different ages, we grow, we change, we feel like time is moving fast.
That's why hugging is so important-it's an opportunity to be present and conscious of what's happening right now, to connect with my husband and girls.
I also get to reconnect to myself. To notice if I am on autopilot, lost in my to-do's, or worrying about things that don't really matter.
It feels good to check things off my list and plan what needs to get done tomorrow, but I also want to be present for today.
Hugging reminds me to slow down so I don't have to wonder where the time went.
Life can trick us into thinking we're too stressed or too busy. We can get caught up in thinking that work or cleaning is extremely important. But we know what's most important.
So we have to practice paying attention-even when we have busy schedules and pressing responsibilities. Even when we are worried about what happened yesterday or what could happen tomorrow.
Because the only thing we can do is right now. And right now there is plenty of time and nothing more important than a long and quiet hug.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.