The following is a short essay I wrote for a series called Simplicity In Action on a blog I’ve been following called Be More With Less. I’ve recently made great efforts to simplify and minimize the ‘stuff’ in my life. It’s hard work and constantly in progress. This story is more about taking in a simple moment but I hope to continue to post stories about how this concept has had a positive impact in my life.
Most people say that having kids makes life more complicated. I disagree. Having children has given me the gift of recognizing and appreciating life’s simple moments.
One fall day in an attempt to get some exercise, I bundle up my two-year old daughter and three month old son and buckle them in the stroller. I leash the dog and begin walking hastily to get some calories burned. After we’ve walked for a while my daughter asks, “Mom, get out?” I look up. The sun is shining and the dog frolics in the trail beyond as we head in her direction. I would want to get out too, I think to myself. I decide to forego the extra calories and let her out of the stroller. She picks up a stick and examines it with scientific expertise. I pick one up, too, and draw a sun in the dirt. “Sun,” she says with exclamation. Then I draw a moon. “Moon,” she says with confidence. We share affirming glances and then some ducks are heard quacking from behind. “Ducks! Look mama!” as she points to the lake. I turn around and see her silhouette beaming in the sunlight. She turns and smiles at me and then runs further down the path. I close my eyes and drink in the moment of simple pleasure.
Beyond the love we give our children I think the most important skill we can offer them is patience. Patience to let them climb the stairs by themselves; patience to give them the control to pick out their own clothes; patience when they deliberately draw on the wall after multiple pleads for the construction paper.
Although much of our patience can be found in discipline or tiresome moments, such as waiting for the shoes to be tied, what it truly translates to is slowing down. A child’s pace of life is sometimes oh, so frustrating, but if we allow ourselves to slow down we can also capture precious opportunities for bonding and growth.
My father always says, “It’s the journey, not the destination.” Although I am not perfect, I strive to give my children the memories that are made through out a journey rather than a rush to the finish line. And this is the beauty of it all: they return that patience, that time, with simple moments of beauty that I will cherish in my heart forever. The gift of time is really the best gift of all.