as good as it gets*

ben_dragon_snickers.jpg
Ben dragon, Berkeley, CA Canon Digital Rebel XSi

Here is Ben trick or treating for his very first time. He could hardly believe his luck, incredulous when we told him. You mean you just walk up to people’s houses and they give you candy? his eyes seemed to say. It was too much to compute.

Turns out being an adorable dragon on your maiden voyage as a trick or treater will also get you Beanie Babies, plastic toy snakes, king size Snickers bars and glow in the dark bracelets. He trotted behind us, chocolate smeared all over his face, glow stick around his arm, in pure heaven.

We were headed to a street party in the neighborhood, a place where there would be friends of ours, real food, and fun. We shuffled along slowly, encouraging Ben to hurry, bribing him with chocolate, trying not to be frustrated with the pace of a toddler, wishing we had brought the stroller…

At some point though, a little voice inside me whispered: This moment right here might be as good as it gets.

We were living as if the street party was somehow going to be better than what was happening now, that this whole walk was just a pesky thing we had to do to get to the real stuff. I noticed how the distraction of a destination was keeping me from fully enjoying this really sweet time.

“Matt, the street party might not be as fun as this. This might be as good as it gets for tonight-and this is pretty darn good. Let’s not miss this.”

A few minutes later we ran into our friends. Turns out the street party had already dismantled and everyone was trick or treating. While we were hurrying Ben, trying to get to some moment we thought was superior to the one we were in, the party was already over.

It was suddenly so clear to me what a fantasy the future can be, that we imagine it either better or worse than where we are now. And it’s irrelevant whether we are right or wrong. It will just be what it is.

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Hi, I’m Andrea

On this blog you’ll be learning with me how to use our voices, share our creative superpowers and live life in full color.

As an artist, photographer, life coach + mentor, I’m redefining what it means to be a SUPERHERO — ‘cause in my world, it’s got nothing to do with capes, spandex or sidekicks and everything to do with tenderness, intuition & baby steps of bravery.

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71 Comments

  1. pamela

    I just LOVE the metaphorical content and spirit of this post. It made me reflect on the truth of it. Your writing style is so organic and revalatory on such an accessible level–thank you for this. I haven’t been here for a while, as I’ve moved back to So Cal from Portland, OR, so I’m getting re-acclimated. Your Ben is the beautiful being I knew you’d create. Glad to hear you are all healthy and happy and growing with experience each day.

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  3. Marianne

    You are one wise woman!

  4. Yolanda

    Such truth, one my brain understands, but my heart so often rebels again. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

  5. kristen

    i love the inspiration this post brings.

  6. Mel

    I just love Ben’s costume.
    I have lived a lot of my life thinking that I have to get to xyz because it will be better – then. Without having idea why it will be better. So, I am with Ben, walking slowly, eating candy and having a flashing something around my neck. Sounds like heaven. Glad you had a great time!

  7. Dawn

    Ok. I’ve read this three times now. Beautiful, inspiring little story.

  8. Sarah

    Thanks so much for writing this – having a bad day and it was just what I needed to read. Beautiful day outside, enjoy it.

  9. Mariella

    so true, so true. It was such a fun day, wasn’t it?!! I am still basking in it & feeling so grateful. 🙂 xoxo, ~ M.

  10. Melinda

    Indeed. Lovely insight and most adorable dragon.

  11. rachael

    SO true. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  12. Mary Anne Gruen

    How very true! What a wonderful story and insight! And your little dragon is adorable! LOL

  13. Mary Anne Gruen

    How very true! What a wonderful story and insight! And your little dragon is adorable! LOL

  14. Mary Anne Gruen

    How very true! What a wonderful story and insight! And your little dragon is adorable! LOL

  15. Mary Anne Gruen

    How very true! What a wonderful story and insight! And your little dragon is adorable! LOL

  16. Puanani

    Amen.

  17. Shelley Noble

    Huge insight, great job! Really glad you caught that moment’s worth!
    I have a running joke about this idea in my house that I put this way… Years ago I heard a comedian say to an audience that was just staring blankly at him, “You guys know that these are the jokes, right?”
    That line of his gave me the same key to life. So now I say to my husband when we are feeling like life is really good, “These are the jokes!”

  18. Trude

    Such true words! And what an adorable dwagon he made! 🙂 Reminds me of some of my fave Dave Matthews Band lyrics: “Wash out this tired notion, that the best is yet to come.”

  19. Wanda

    Ain’t that the truth?
    What a perfect Puff Ben was.

  20. celisa

    so so so true.

  21. Chana

    I told him, the words still lingering in my mind several weeks later:
    “what do we really have? if we’re lucky, we have *this* moment.”

  22. jag

    What a powerful story! So, so very true… thanks for sharing this profound moment with us. And your wee dragon? Too cute for words!!
    xox

  23. Trish

    Do you know why I adore you? You slap me back into reality and out of my cluttered mind of periphery. You are an absolute gem for sharing this insightful anecodatal gift. Andrea, you are as good as it gets.
    Hugs to my little dinosaurish dragon,
    xoxo
    Trish
    xoxo

  24. Lisa

    Oh, beautiful!
    On SO many levels.
    Thank you for sharing this experience ~ and valuable reminder ~ with us.

  25. Braidwood

    I can totally understand that sentiment if you are in a pretty good place, but if life is not so swell at the moment, it really does help to imagine that the future will be better.
    But for now, waiting for my guitar class to start up again and surfing the net, I like the reminder to enjoy the moment.

  26. Jennifer

    I always appreciate your wisdom ~ thank you! Your son is so precious!

  27. Amber

    The last 2 sentences were just the nuggets I needed tonight. I got a call from the dr today that left me feeling scared and uncertain about the future but it will be what it will be and I just have to take one day at a time and not let my imagination run wild with what ifs. Thanks for sharing.

  28. colette

    How beautiful, what a great reminder. We took our almost-two-year-old trick-or-treating, just up our block, and I turned to my husband and said, “This is so much fun!” I really enjoyed the moment.

  29. amy j.

    I have that sign in my office:
    “It is what it is.”
    Loved this post Andrea…and Ben is SUPER cute as a dragon!

  30. amy j.

    I have that sign in my office:
    “It is what it is.”
    Loved this post Andrea…and Ben is SUPER cute as a dragon!

  31. Leia

    As the proud Mommy of my little “Sam, Sam, Ben, Ben” (I know sickeningly sweet but it just works for us and our Samuel Benjamin) I’ve been in that moment so many times recently and coming up w/ the same thing. These fleeting moments are truly going by so fast just like the sumptuous autumn light mingling in the crisp air and dancing with the intense colors that you want to hold onto and make last forever (dam is that even a sentence?) these little boys and their pure sweetness is slipping through our fingers too fast. I catch myself rushing my almost three year old (who I am honored to have share your special day) and I stop and wonder what I am rushing him for?? He wants more time in the swing so why would I rush him out to go eat dinner that he probably won’t eat? He’s enjoying the swinggggg in the fall air! That’s why he is here, that’s why I am home with him, that’s his joy and dam it’s mine too. Just watching him soak up the flying feeling of having his mama push him high in the swing while he looks at the sky and counts birds and cars and buses and we sing songs! Some greats too: Wheels on the Bus, ABCs, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Frera Jocka (sp? whatever) and so on. That smile that I could devour, those cheeks, that care free happiness. There is no better moment. You got that post right on A! It’s a test of living in the moment and truly being present. My son is my greatest teacher. I love reading your posts and I am so honored to have your company through your blog posts over these last three years of being a new mama. It’s so amazing to share in glimpses of this amazing process and growth. XO -L

  32. mccabe

    yes, yes, ben is the cutest thing ever,
    and yes.
    xo

  33. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  34. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  35. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  36. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  37. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  38. sanne

    aah your website is great! this picture is so amazing haha you make me smile and that picture of the nervous hands is GREAT!!!

  39. Jessica!

    I have a quote hanging above my changing table; where I spend a lot of time with my 3 week old little boy; the quote is ‘nothing is worth more than this day’. It keeps me in the present.

  40. rebecca straayer

    andrea, this is huge, and so helpful. thank you!

  41. sarahlw

    As a new mother of a beautiful 8 week old baby girl who has some challenges breastfeeding, I really appreciate these thoughts. I’m so caught up in feeding her and just surviving, hoping that tomorrow will be better, that I forget to stay in, and savor, the moment. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photography and inspirational words.

  42. Jennwynn

    In addition to the wonderful message (that I needed today) and spectacular photo, this reminds me of one of my favorite kid memories.
    We were at an ice cream store (Maggie Moo’s or Cold Stone, something like that). In line behind us were a mother and child (he was ~3-4, preschool age). She was trying to help him order, explaining the whole “mix-in” concept. He said, “You mean I can have ice cream and they put *candy* on it?!?” “Yes, honey.” “Mom, that’s crazy talk!” 🙂
    Awesome!

  43. velvet

    this really resonated with me…just living in the moment instead of thinking about the future. i’ve always had such a hard time with that, i don’t know why. thanks for writing this post! 🙂

  44. mamie

    we took our little dawdlers out dressed as spiders on saturday…the plan was the downtown shops for trick or treating, my brother’s street and then the madness of the darkened and teaming streets of la verne…a lot for two two year olds to bite off.
    we were without strollers or wagons, just feet and lots of little spider appendages catching everything…and. man, were they slow feet. but it was such a pleasure to watch them get it this year, to hear them say thank you and witness some of the funniest sugar freakouts ever. owen could not stop saying “jen’s house jen’s house jen’s house” (my friend) and mason was wiggling like a spider everywhere…
    one of my favorite moments was when mace ran through the streamer’s as a neighbor’s house saying “me wind me wind me spider”
    thought i would share the link to their happiest halloween yet (and ours, for that matter)
    http://mamieknits.blogspot.com/2009/11/happiest-of-halloweens.html
    life with young ones is slower and faster than i could have ever imagined.

  45. chris

    Great message of the happiness of “now, here and me.” Don’t wish for something else, or to be someone else. We are given our places in this life for a reason and if we don’t enjoy it….then we are the losers. You CAN miss so much by rushing through it. Trust me, I speak from experience.

  46. kristen

    I’m so happy that you decided one day to share morsels of your life with us on this journal. As a sleep deprived new mom, this is exactly what I needed to read today. You are a superhero!

  47. Michelle Shopped

    a very wise post, andrea — i still have to catch myself from doing that, too — moving on to the imagined next best thing…but awareness is a good start … xo

  48. chrissy

    once again andrea…reminding me to “be present”. thank you!

  49. Karen Maezen Miller

    What it is: welcome to my street party. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one here, so a hearty howdy do.

  50. samin

    love this post. hope you’re well. thinking of you often. love, samin

  51. Laura

    Once again, as with so many of your entries, I needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

  52. Laura

    Once again, as with so many of your entries, I needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

  53. Laura

    Once again, as with so many of your entries, I needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

  54. Laura

    Oops, my impatience got the best of me – sorry for the multiple posts!

  55. Jenna/The Word Cellar

    I had a similar moment recently, in the middle of doing nothing much. *This is your life,* a little loud voice whispered. *This is your life. Don’t miss it.* It gives me joy to think of other people having those moments, too.

  56. Gundoswnv

    Aloha! ufb

  57. Gundosiiw

    Aloha! ezf

  58. Gundosnda

    Aloha! tus

  59. Jennifer

    Amen. Amen. Amen. Thank you for this reminder, Andrea. 🙂

  60. Carole

    So, so true! I love coming to visit here, Andrea. I’m often surprised by how often my reflections are parallel to yours, and you so beautifully express them!

  61. Jodi at Joy Discovered

    Oh, I’ve done this so often! Especially with my kids! It is wonderful that you caught yourself doing it in the moment; what a great lesson!
    Jen, I “know” you…I’m married to Toby Sloane, my MIL is Carol Sloane, a friend of your mom’s. My MIL told me about your site and your amazingly awesome Mondo Beyondo program. And then, just last week when I was reading the latest issue of my favorite magazine, Artful Blogger, there you were again! Congratulations on the feature!! Take care, Jodi

  62. busymomma66

    Oh I so do this way to often. What a wonderful reminder to just be in the moment.

  63. another outspoken female

    Oh boy – you so get it 🙂 I wonder why we have so much fear around missing out, while we are so busy missing in?

  64. another outspoken female

    Oh boy – you so get it 🙂 I wonder why we have so much fear around missing out, while we are so busy missing in?

  65. whitney

    andrea, I LOVE your post… such a life lesson. I, too, catch myself feeling this way as I rush my three little birds to and fro and I feel so much peace when I remind myself of the precious present. Don’t miss it. THIS is IT. 🙂

  66. Ana

    It’s wonderful that you found yourself in the current moment, and that you learnt from it.

  67. Ana

    It’s wonderful that you found yourself in the current moment, and that you learnt from it.

  68. Ana

    It’s wonderful that you found yourself in the current moment, and that you learnt from it.

  69. Yasmin

    Happy Birthday for today – be in the moment! Yaya xxx

  70. Zoe

    Well put. Thank you.

  71. Dreaming Bear

    LOVE that photo of your little dragon, and kudos to you for being so smart, and such a great mommy!

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