Endless lists of things to do, an avalanche of unanswered e-mail and phone calls, piles of dirty laundry, and a sink full of dirty dishes, not to mention dust bunnies so big I wouldn’t be able to distinguish them from the cat if she wasn’t so loud and insistent on receiving her fair share of attention. (At least the dust bunnies are quiet.) Long days with children and lots of late nights trying to do everything else I want to and need to. And please don’t even mention the shopping, and the decorating, and the baking, and the card writing that I haven’t started to do, with the holidays being – yikes– less than two weeks away. There’s no “me” time in there anywhere. In fact, it doesn’t feel like there is time to take a breath most days. I’ve been feeling tired, irritable, and overwhelmed.(Does this sound familiar to anyone? ) And yet….
Today there was this: The sun was shining, and the air was crisp. He was on his trike, riding ahead of me. I followed behind on foot, my mind a million miles away. We were on our way to pick his sister up from school. As he pedaled, he exclaimed over the Christmas bulbs some of the neighbors had hung on the branches of their bushes. He stopped, and pointed to to a large maple tree in a yard across the street, and asked, “Lisa, why doesn’t that tree have any leaves on it anymore?” “Because the leaves fall from the tree in the winter, and grow back again in the spring,” I answered. “Oh! That’s why!” And he was off again. Suddenly he burst into song at the top of his lungs. “It’s A Small World After All.” Completely immersed in song, in the moment, unaware that his energy, his song, his pure joy in being, had pulled me into the moment with him. I found myself grinning, and I wasn’t the only one.
A Mom who was getting out of her car stopped for a moment, and watched him, and when she caught my eye, I saw she was grinning too. And then a Dad. And another Mom, and a Grandma. We all slowed down, following him like he was the pied piper, sharing smiles with each other, until we got to the “big” crosswalk that leads across the street to the school. The one manned by the kind, but gruff school crossing guard. We all stopped to wait for the light to turn, while J. continued his song. I saw the guard’s face soften and I do believe his eyes twinkled. As we crossed the street, someone said “I feel like I’m in a parade,” and when we got to the other side, someone else thanked J. for “singing” us across. It was truly a magical moment in an ordinary day, and I found myself feeling refreshed and renewed.
Once again, it was a small child who reminded me that slowing down, observing, and being present in the moment is not just a gift we can give to the little people in our lives, but one we can give to ourselves too, by following their lead.
“Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” Eddie Cantor
What moments have you enjoyed with your children today?