Quiet Time Ladybug
"GRANDMA! You're never going to believe this. I have something crazy to tell you. Do you know what it is?" my three-year-old ecstatically shouts as he hears my mom open the garage door. She enthusiastically bends down to his level and acts as though she is about to hear the biggest piece of breaking news she's ever heard in her life.
Now let's pause for a minute and pretend you heard this statement from an adult. I would think....met a celebrity? Pregnant with twins? Bought a new house? Won the lottery? Got a new job? Currently I spend all my time with two toddlers, so I know better than to think one of these things might come out of my son's mouth (plus - I know they're all impossible). My mom still seems excited that he actually might have something exciting to say, but then he yells: "THERE WAS A LADYBUG IN MY ROOM DURING MY QUIET TIME."
Although to me this was an annoyance since I had to peel myself off the couch (during the one hour I get to myself each day if I'm lucky) to go to his room, retrieve the ladybug, and re-home it on one of my house plants, to him it was truly the biggest thing that happened in his day. It's hard to remember that his world is so much smaller than mine is. Every *little* thing that happens to him is mind-blowing. What a blessing that would be to be blown away by seeing a garbage truck drive by. Meeting another kid with the same name. Being allowed to have a popsicle in the morning. Running into grandpa at Costco. Finding a puddle to jump in. Getting stickers from the cashier at Target. All things that I would just either take for granted or not really care about because I've got "bigger" things on my mind. But what if those are the big things?
I've spent much of my adult life rushing through it. I have always been the type of person who wants to move on to the next thing. It's tough for me to be content in my current season, because I always think that if I can just get through this one, the next one will be easier. So far, that has never proven to be true. Each season brings its' own challenges with it, and I oftentimes find myself longing for the past and wishing I would have appreciated it more.
So what if I thought like a toddler? What if I found so much beauty and delight in a late-morning oat milk latte while my kids entertain themselves at the book store instead of being stressed about the lunch/nap time/quiet time logistics waiting for me when we get home? Was ecstatic to receive an Amazon package with a new book in it that I forgot I ordered? Savored every moment of the 20-minute overlap I get between my kids' rest times and soaked up every minute of it reading on the front porch with a sparkling water? Appreciated being able to cook dinner in peace while listening to a podcast in my AirPods and my husband entertains the kids in the other room? All things that happen fairly regularly and I don't appreciate nearly as much as I want to.
I'm an all or nothing kind of person - very black and white. If I don't have a solid hour of uninterrupted time to devote to myself, it can't be considered self-care. If I can't do a full 45-minute Peloton ride, the 20-minute one doesn't count. If I snap at my toddlers a few times, the day is ruined and I did a horrible job at parenting them. If I feel especially anxious one day, all my hard work in therapy and on myself isn't working at all.
Sure, I'm constantly teaching my kids things, - otherwise they'll grow up to be adults who dip their watermelon in ranch and don't pull their pants up before they leave the bathroom - but they're teaching me more than I want to admit, too. Every day they are teaching me to stop and pause to see the wonderful things right in front of my face. They're teaching me to slow down and cherish each and every day - the more mundane, the better. My three year old is especially helping me to see the wonder of the world through his eyes, and my one year old is showing me how to laugh at just about anything.
Kids are something. Something hard and beautiful and wonderful and silly and frustrating and amazing and funny. They may suck the life out of us most days, but they also pour it right back into us - especially when we need it the most.
May we all see the ladybug in our room today and not just brush it aside.
This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series "Breaking News".