Four years ago, the pace of Rachel Macy Stafford’s life was a mad dash to a finish line that couldn’t be reached. She was gripping her devices more tightly than the hands of her loved ones. She was saying yes to everything outside the home and no to the most important activities inside the home—like playing, laughing, and memory making. When she realized she wasn’t living, just barely existing, she knew things needed to change. She began taking small steps to let go of distractions and connect to what really mattered. The results were so immediate and so profound that she knew she must share her Hands Free journey with the world. A grace to welcome her to the farm’s front porch…
~ by Rachel Macy Stafford
My child wandered into the kitchen clutching her stuffed bunny in one hand, sucking her thumb on the other hand.
As I buttered toast, I expected her to grasp my leg and rest her cheek against my thigh.
But today she offered something more.
Although there had been a time in my life when I would have been too busy or too distracted to see it, I didn’t miss it today.
I got it before one more email, one more text message, and one more yes to an unnecessary commitment stole another precious moment.
I got it before one more “after I fold this load of laundry” or one more “after I clean up the playroom” denied me another one of life’s simple joys.
I got it before one more “when I lose five more pounds” or one more “what will people think?” prevented me from dancing, laughing, and truly living.
I got it before one more empty, shallow, and meaningless distraction robbed me of one more glorious experience that makes life worth living.
And because I finally got it, I saw a chance to grasp what really matters.
Beneath me stood my beautiful child who had suddenly dropped her pink bunny and stopped sucking her thumb so she could hold up her arms to me—just like she did when she was a baby.
I turned away from the burning toast, the unmade school lunches, and the unsigned homework folders.
I turned away from distraction and toward what, or who, really mattered.
I opened my arms and scooped her up—just like I did when she was a baby.
Although her gangly arms and legs felt awkward as they wrapped around my neck and waist, her head still fit perfectly in the crook of my neck. She nuzzled in. This little girl planned to stay for a while.
As I hugged my child’s body tightly, a painful admission from a reader of my blog came to mind:
I am now in my sixties.
I wish I had known then what I know now. I lost a lot of opportunities with my children and the people I love because I was busy doing things I thought were “important.”
My current relationship with my children is okay, but I can only imagine what it would be like now if I had spent more time with them, talking to them, and laughing with them. I think they managed to have those meaningful experiences in life, but it wasn’t with me.
Tell your readers that the cost of distraction is mighty high. It can cost you your life and your happiness. Take it from someone who knows.
In that moment, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude. By the grace of God, there was still time to live and love.
I have today. Yesterday is gone. All the mistakes, failures, poor choices, and the things I wish I could do over, they are gone.
Today stands before me with arms wide open.
All I have to do is grasp it.
A certified special education teacher, whose work has been on CNN, Good Morning America, Global News, USA Today, TIME.com, MSN.com, The Huffington Post, and Reader’s Digest, Rachel felt compelled to share her journey to let go of distraction and grasp what really matters by founding the the online community, The “Hands Free Mama” and sharing “The Hands Free Revolution” through her new book, the New York Times Bestseller, HANDS FREE MAMA.