It is just another Wednesday and, like most Wednesdays, it is a school day. Maelle is getting dressed and ready for the day. She has been in her room for far too long and when I walk in I am greeted by my daughter smiling ear to ear with every piece of jewelry she owns adorned on her still pajama-clad body. I tell her to “hustle up and get downstairs or we or going to be late”. Five minutes later she joins me in the kitchen as we sit down to breakfast.
I know she is a slow eater - in other words, this girl is a talker. A personality trait that leads to ritually slow eating so I have allotted more than enough time for her to feed herself and still be ready for school on time. Of course, twenty minutes in and she is barely halfway done so I tell her to “hurry up or we or going to be late.” She rushes to finish and puts her dishes into the sink. I tell her to get ready for school and she is off to follow her little checklist I’ve made so I don’t need to keep reminding her about what needs to be done.
She grabs her snack and water bottle and darts off to the mudroom to pack up her backpack. I hear her going to the washroom and I listen as she starts singing a song about bubbles that she has made up on the spot. She is splashing in the sink, playing with the bubbles, smelling our new soap. As I finish feeding Linden and cleaning up our kitchen, I call to her “get moving, young lady!” I listen as she abruptly shuts off the faucet, jumps off of the step stool and leaps into our mudroom.
I quickly clean Linden up and carry him towards the mudroom to get him ready too. When I round the corner, I see Maelle standing there, making faces into the mirror, manipulating her cheeks in funny ways as she lets out a giggle. I pause, take a deep breath, and say to her “what on earth are you doing that for? Let’s get moving so we aren’t late.” Maelle scrambles to get her boots and coat on then pauses for a second longer to make one last face that she laughs hysterically at. “Maelle, hurry up!” and before I can even finish she is off into the garage and I can hear the garage door creak into motion.
I follow behind her, with Linden in tow. I start buckling him into his car seat and look over to see Maelle’s door open, but she is not there. I look out onto the driveway and say with utter exasperation “Maelle, would you please…” but I am cut off by her turning to me and telling me to “shhhhhh” as she raises a finger to her lips. She is standing there, watching a family of deer walk through our neighbourhood. She is in awe. They are beautiful. Bigger than you would imagine - graceful and majestic. I let her have this moment and I quickly grab Linden out of the car so he too can see the deer. He points and is overjoyed by these beautiful urban animals.
As we finally make our way to school, I think about all of the times I have rushed Maelle today. How she wouldn’t have experienced the deer if she didn’t take the time to stop and look. What else has she missed due to my need to rush about? I can’t help but wonder why I am so concerned with what’s to come instead of what is right in front of me.
So often, I am so stressed out that I forget to enjoy the mundane. I forget to make parenting fun. I can be so focused on our schedule that I never take a moment to look up and actually see what my kids are doing. Far too often I am the one getting in the way of my own enjoyment. I can be so oblivious to precious moments and brush past them with such haste that I forget that this is truly what makes motherhood so damn glorious. The moments between the scheduled activities are where my mind will wander to 5-10-15 years from now. And, when I look back, I want my kids to remember how I picked them up and carried them, how I laughed with them, how I cuddled them, how I kissed their pain, how I got on the floor and played with them and how I loved every ounce of who they are; not how I rushed them and was always on time.
I can’t help but wonder what I am rushing for in the first place. Of course, there is always somewhere to be or something to do but nothing so urgent that we can’t take our time, enjoy the wonders of this earth and dream a little bit longer. My daughter is four, and her ability to see the world as a very special place is heart-warming. Her presence in a particular moment is something that I, myself, strive to achieve. She is the perfect reminder that finding joy in the little moments is worth the extra time.
It won’t be long before this world changes her and, she too feels the pressures of life, the stress of making deadlines, and the need for urgency. As she grows, she will need to rush about enough that there is no need for me to add to it. Will I stop telling her to hurry up? No, or else we will never get anywhere. But I will definitely let her take a little bit longer when we can afford the time. So instead of today being just another Wednesday, it can be a Wednesday where she wore all of her jewelry, told stories, played with soap, made up songs, pulled silly faces in the mirror, and saw a family of deer in her own front yard. And there will never be another Wednesday like it.