I love looking to get from point a to point b as quickly as possible I think.
I wake up and look at the list. That long long long list of items that I never seem to finish. It’s the laundry, the cooking, the wiping out of the fridge, the vacuuming, the sweeping again and again, the folding of clothes, the spraying of stain remover, the scrubbing of the sink, the tying of the shoes, the list it goes on and on and on and on.
Point a to point b.
That seems to be the goal each day when I get up.
And yet, yet there is this thing called life.
This beautiful mysterious everyday you don’t know what to expect gift of life. With days that sometimes feel like you’re walking in the Molasses Swamp of Candyland – the days that drag by and you question whether the clock is moving backward and you’re just wishing for the card that would pull you out quick and bring you out.
And there are days that are beautiful, with point a to point b moving so fast. You can tick items off faster then you can write them down. Your moving at the speed of light, the house is perfect looking, dinner cooking, and you have that rare feeling of actually believing that you are superwoman.
But what about life?
Life doesn’t happen really at point a or point b.
Life happens in the great space in between.
Life happens in the moments when you scrub the dishes and reach for the broom. It is in the moments when you are racing to grab the next thing to do and your toddler reaches for your leg and you decide to let the broom rest against the counter and pick up your little one. Those are the moments tucked in the in between.
Yesterday we went to the zoo. It’s a fabulous place filled with crazy beautiful exhibits and animals and rides, and yet, at lunch, the big thing was gathering acorns that were scattered over the hill surrounding our picnic blanket. Yes, acorns that fall from the tree and cover the ground. Normal, non-zoo things. However, my boys spent minute after minute after minute racing around filling old Lays Potato Chip bags with these acorns that had fallen from the trees in the middle of the zoo that I loved to visit when I was a child.
Friends, I didn’t even see them.
I saw the big stuff.
I saw that it was getting late and that Samuel was getting tired. I saw the animals and the rides and the fact that we had unlimited wristbands on and that the sky was getting a bit cloudy and that there was now a very long line to get the free soda. Or pop, as we call it up here in Minnesota. I saw all the stuff that I thought we needed to do to make the day awesome.
I missed the acorns scattered all over the ground.
And yet for my boys they were the big things.
Those little things were in the midst of my point a and point b.
They picked them up, one after another after another, and filled those bags and clutched those bags as we wandered out of the zoo. We passed the orangutans, the silver back gorillas, and walked through the part with rides and got to the vehicle.
Do you know what mom? I’m going to plant these when I get home.
It wasn’t about the big things. It was those little things. The acorns that I had probably complained about underneath my blanket spread out on the grass were the very things that brought my kids joy.
I just didn’t see them.
But, just like I wrote in let me see the straws many months ago, I want to start to slow down and to see these moments, these little things, these blips on the road between the two points in life. Life isn’t about those landmark points, life is really, I’m guessing, about the journey to get there. The in between.
Sometimes the journey is simply hard. Painful. Full of moments where you just don’t think that there can be much good to look at. And yet, yet, there just might be a bit of joy, of good, of hope, of you tucked in those days. And maybe, maybe it’s those little things like resting the broom against the counter and hugging on the toddler. Or maybe it’s those minutes when you bandage the skinned knee and sit on the couch and read books instead of finishing whatever you were working on.
And sometimes, sometimes it is even in saying no and working hard and finishing what you have to get done so that you can provide and then grabbing the moments when you can and not allowing yourself to feel guilt. It’s not really about the quantity, it’s really the quality. I know, cliche, but so true.
So today, today the challenge for me, and the one I present to you is to allow yourself to step back just a bit and to see the little things in the middle of the journey between all those points. Look at the world through the eyes of your child. Watch them – they teach us.
Embrace the moments. The wonder.
The list? It will always be there. You will always have those slow as molasses candyland days and there will be the days of amazement and days that are just mundane normal. Yet, in all of them will be moments of joy and little things matter moments. The kids will grow and will learn to see new things and might not ever see the joy in acorns again. We have now. You have now. Today.
It’s a reminder to slow down.
Look in their eyes. Give that extra hug. Learn to laugh. Tuck them in at night and kiss their head. Let them help with dinner. Run in the backyard. Sit at the table and play a game. Rock just a bit longer at night. Let them gather the acorns.
So if you ever happen to drive by my home in twenty years and you see this property with a bunch of oak trees scattered about you’ll know why now. It’s seeing and embracing the in between.
Little things matter.
All photographs used by permission and credited to Hannah Nicole.
Images and original content are sole property of Rachel Martin and may not be used, copied or transmitted without prior written consent.