“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The world is theirs.
“An artist,” says the five-year-old.
“A ladybug!” shouts the two-year-old.
“A-yiiiiiiii,” says the baby.
They cuddle close, waiting for their lives to unfold.
Waiting. I fear it. I want to micromanage. Take my life – and sometimes theirs – and make it happen.
So I am racing, racing, a passenger on a raging train. I look out the window and see nothing but a muddy palette of blurred colors. I hear nothing but an acoustical background filled with the tapestry of small but persistent voices: Mommy, look at the sky. Isn’t it beautiful? Mommy, read me a book. Mommy, let’s snuggle. Mommy, feed me. Feed me with your body, with your life.
Something inside of me stirs, but I’m paralyzed by the temptaton to stop doing. I idly sit on the speeding train watching everything pass before me, but these voices keep urging me to slow down—to free myself from a relentless schedule and to stop and see what lies on the way to my unknown destination.
Mommy, we love you just the way you are. You are someone to us. You don’t need to be something.
I’m afraid to slow down but as I do, everything becomes more vivid. Is that a daffodil beginning to bloom already? I would have missed that. Yes, I see that fleecy cloud in the shape of a dinosaur ambling in the blue sky. Oh, yes, that is delicious. I hadn’t tasted it before. I was too busy swallowing to notice its texture, its flavor.
Modern day life is about racing, but raising children is about pacing. Pace yourself, Mommy. Let our joy and wonderment be yours. The sweetness of life is not a stolen pleasure; it’s supposed to be savored. Soak up the smell of our skin, the softness of our little feet. Watch the trees dance in the breeze. Clean the dishes, yes, but notice the magic of the pearly suds, slippery on your busy hands. The whole world waits to be discovered and appreciated.