My days are as long and full as days can possibly be.
In the last week or so, I have been writing and taking pictures more than I thought possible. Ok, make that more than I thought possible while also juggling three outside jobs. I am a writer and photographer but still working on ways to make that profitable. In terms of profit or at least experience, I’m on the Board of Directors for my favorite non-profit organization. I am also a Social Media Consultant, which means I can create and maintain Facebook/Twitter/YouTube and LinkedIn accounts for small companies that don’t have the time or knowledge to do so. I also do data entry from home whenever I can get the chance. I’m mainly a full-time mother who sometimes has no business doing anything else but that.
In my last post, link here, I talked about the power of peace. A huge part of that for me has been being present. I have really learned just how much life you can cram into one 12-14 hour slot of waking life. I sometimes watch clocks when I have to. When it’s nearly Scarlet’s naptime or bedtime. When I’m administering my ear medication and need to time it. When I’m logging in hours of data entry time. And I’ve found that watched minutes go painfully slow. And a day full of toddler schedules can feel like an eternity. So I’ve had to learn to just be in the moment. I’ve learned to spend whole days not thinking about the past or the future at all. I never thought that could happen for me so I thank Scarlet for showing me the way.
When I was in college, I spent my life immersed in books and computer screens. My eye doctor told me I didn’t need glasses but that I could come back and get a low prescription for night driving, should I wish. Years passed and I didn’t go back. One late night after I had just met Cassidy, we were driving through New Hampshire and he gave me his glasses to see if they helped me see better in the black, New England night. Suddenly I could see every blade of grass, as well as all of the things I was supposed to see – street signs, animals in the road, etc. Soon after, I went back to my eye doctor and got some glasses. As I told her, “I just never knew you could see this much of life. I had never been shown this perspective.”
Similarly, when I’m in the yard with Scarlet, when I’m frustrated that we only have one car, when I have no grand plans to take her away from home, I sit and watch her and realize she’s ok. We go into the yard and she looks at every blade of grass. She smells every flower. She sees and hears every sight and sound. She never looks at the clock. She never thinks nostalgically about things she’s left behind – family, old boyfriends, old homes, old friends. She never worries about how she’s going to pay for college or even the next tank of gas. She can just be. She just is.
I owe it to her to spend my time with her doing the same. We look at every single blade of grass. We see beauty in the glare of sunlight and in the dark of night. We hear every bird call and try to (poorly) imitate them all. We are present in everything life has to offer us at that given time. We don’t look behind or ahead.
And, of course, this can only last so long before I take photos of us “being present” and “at peace” and I think about how to write about “being present” and “at peace”. Is that counterproductive? Or actually productive? Probably a little of both.
When she asks me to read the same stupid book over and over. When she asks me to go outside again and again. When she asks me hug her and not let go for over 20 minutes, I shouldn’t panic and look at the clock or check my emails on my phone when my computer is like 20 feet away. I shouldn’t sigh and roll my eyes. To her, every reading of the same stupid book is new and connective in her growing mind. Every trip outside is a wildlife safari to her. Every hug she gives me is another hug I’ll miss so dearly when she’s older, away from me or too cool to hug me for 20 minutes straight. We have a fast-paced, always moving and distracted society. Things we used to be able to do for hours straight have been condensed. In my Social Media studies, I’ve learned that YouTube videos shouldn’t be more than a minute or so long because people lose interest after that. Blog posts shouldn’t be more than 800-1,000 words because people lose interest after that. (I obviously don’t follow that “rule”!) Commercials can now be fast forwarded on DVRs because our time is too precious to allow advertisers to brainwash us for four minutes every fifteen or so minutes. Ok…that one I like.
We don’t live on a tropical island with nothing to do all day but enjoy life, maybe read, enjoy life some more and drink freshly squeezed fruit juice. Except that to Scarlet, we do. This whole world is an adventure for her and she wants to inhale every dizzying breath of knowledge, beauty and joy.
I don’t want her to learn to keep up with me. I want to learn how to slow down with her.
The picture above is probably one of my favorite pictures of Scarlet in existence. It is so her. I imagine she’s reciting a Shakespearean sonnet to that flower or saying something to the effect of, “A flower! A flower for my kingdom!”
It doesn’t take much with her. It doesn’t have to cost a thing to make her happy.
“The sky! The sky is so blue. I’ve never seen such a vivid blue!”
“Golden beads! Golden beads, Golden sunlight and Baby Bear! I am complete and at peace with life.”
Bubble don’t taste good. Remember that.
What is it they say? Something about what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Well I don’t always know the answer to that question but if I hang around Scarlet long enough, I start to get a clear idea. One that I’ll cling to for life.