By: Anne Marie Holloway
His little hand holds tight to the carriage and his big blue eyes look up at me from his hat-hidden face. We are in a rush. We need to leave the supermarket in time to pick up his oldest sister from school and the clock is ticking. With his well worn winter cap covering part of his face and half of one eye, he peers up at me and smiles thoughtfully.
And I barely notice.
“Mom?” his little voice asks. I hear him, but I am focused on maneuvering our shopping carriage and ourselves through an unusually busy parking lot.
I am unable to answer.
“Mom!!?” he says with a little more force. I stop and realize that my youngest child has planted his feet firmly on the ground. He is not moving and my carriage and I come to an abrupt halt.
Slightly confused and mildly aggravated by my youngest child’s actions I snap, “What is it? We need to get these groceries in the car- now!” And in an attempt to speed up this process of leaving the parking lot a little faster I try to scoop up my five year old with my free arm.
My child resists my attempt to move him along, and in an out of character maneuver, he kicks his feet and arches his back to break free of my hold. My typically easy going and agreeable little monkey is MAD.
“MOM! Will you stop and look at THIS. You’re going to miss it?!?” He shouts in my ear as he slips free of my hold and runs back over to a puddle on the ground.
I am beyond stressed at this point. I depend on the good behavior of my children. I have to admit, I am blessed by four respectful and rather well behaved kiddos. Not to say that my husband and I have not had to work at teaching these concepts to our kiddos – we have – and diligently so. We have good days and bad days like any growing family but we seem to have good chemistry. The six of us as a family work well together.
I guess today was just not going to be one of those great days… And I sighed.
I left my unattended cart of groceries in the middle of the parking lot and took my preschooler’s little hand. As we walked through the parking lot my heart and mind were filled with all the guilt a mother sometimes feels when she just cannot do it all.
I felt defeated. I have a tendency to think I can pack more than is humanly possible into a day and often I find myself rushing my youngest about. It is no wonder he was resisting. He had probably reached his breaking point. He needed to make a stand.
I shook my head to clear my thoughts when I realized that my son had gently led me back over to the puddle he had been so focused on showing me.
“Do you see it Mom?” he asked me gently.
I saw a puddle…
I saw that my phone had two voice messages. I saw that the wind was now pushing my grocery filled shopping cart slowly through the parking lot. I saw the minutes ticking away. I saw that I had to get going.
“Look Mom. Isn’t that beautiful?” he asks while simultaneously pulling me closer to the puddle.
Then I saw it.
I should have known. My youngest is my one who always stops to smell the roses. He always sees the things we don’t have time to notice and he pays attention to the little details. He is always the first to see a hummingbird in the garden or a deer in the woods. Today would be no different and I was disappointed that I had not stopped sooner.
As I looked into the puddle I saw the reflection of slowly moving, perfectly white clouds positioned against an indigo blue sky on a silky smooth canvas. And while I squatted down next to my sweet child admiring this precious discovery, all those other previous worries faded slowly out of my mind.
“It’s just beautiful,” my son repeated as he leaned his little body into mine. And it was.
As we peered into the puddle together I could also see the reflection of a mother and son, stopping just for a moment, time standing still amidst the hustle and bustle of life to take in something simply amazing.
A fleeting opportunity to see yourself through the eyes of someone else.
A reminder to stop and smell those roses more often.
A tender gift given to me, and passed along to you.