“Move it! Move it! Move it!”
These are the words I chant most mornings as my lovely, 5-year-old dawdler goes under her bed to look for her shoes, or decides to make homemade dog treats at 7 am on school day, or literally stops to smell the roses as we race to get out the door and get to school on time. And as I nudge her toward the car, her response is always the same, “But, Mom, you have to take your time.”
My daughter has been trying to teach me this lesson for almost six years now, but there’s been a steep learning curve for me. We’re all wired the way we’re wired, and I’m wired to do things frenetically. So when my little one warns me to take my time and to let her take her time, I realize that in my efforts to rush her, I’m forcing her to approach the world in a way in which she is not wired, and I’m potentially missing out on all the little treasures that come with a slower pace.
In my rush, I could miss out on how delighted she is when she finds the perfect rock, seashell or walking stick.
I could miss out on how proud she is of herself when she draws a very life-like wolf, or reads a new word for the first time, or adds just the right amount of turmeric to our smoothies.
I could miss out on how she cares for her littler cousins by placing a guiding hand on their backs to lead them away from danger.
I could miss out on her saying her prayers in the middle of the day because she misses her Papa who recently went to Heaven and that was the only thing she could think to do to comfort herself.
I could miss out.
One of my dearest friends texted me today as she pondered moving her family and whether it would be hard on her kids. She’s a mother of three and I’m a mother of one, and she’s also been a parent a lot longer than I have, so I had little advice to offer. All I could do was give her my perspective as the mother of a kid who likes to take her time. I reminded her that kids are resilient, and, in the end, they care little for things and place, they just want to be with the people who love them.
This has certainly informed many of our family decisions — I left a job that made me unhappy to the point of affecting my health because we knew I couldn’t be my best self and a great parent if my health was compromised.
We moved a couple of times, once to be closer to family, and another time to settle in the community in which we wanted to raise our daughter. The first time we moved, we sold or donated a third of our stuff, and we never missed one single bit of it. So the second time we moved, we got rid of even more stuff, and we realized how much less we could live with. I worried that the moving would be stressful to our child, but she took it all in stride, because the stuff and the place held little importance; our people, our health, and our happiness is all that’s ever mattered. And I have a kid who finds beauty in a rock and who likes to take her time.
Today, my friends, let’s take our time.