Today she asked me to read to her.
She’s seven and busy as a bee most of the time. Not a lot of time to sit still. Except for a moment today and she wanted me to read.
I felt busy as a bee and didn’t have a lot of time to sit still. Except she won’t be seven much longer and my other stuff will always be there.
So I sat in the corner of the couch by the sunny window and she handed me her book. “Make Way for Ducklings! I love this book, mama!” As I opened its pages she closed the blanket around her, nestling into my lap. I made a silent vow to anchor myself like a kite in the hand of a little girl running along the beach. Everything else slipped away. I took my time with each word and spoke with enthusiasm, as if reading it for the first time myself. I saw her eyes light up as I explained to her that she had visited the very park the book portrayed. The time that I took was not spent; it was invested. As I read on, I could feel her sinking deeper into me, relaxing more, feeling the moment as much as I offered it.
I closed the book and she closed her eyes. My hand found itself stroking her round-for-a-short-time cheek, outlining her ear and marveling at her shape. I spent so many hours like this when she was a baby- just looking at her and wondering how anything could be so perfect. Taking in her softness, her innocence. Time was so quiet and so still and I could have spent forever in that place, just holding her head in my lap, cradling her youth. Being her mama. Being her mama. Her continued rest with me affirmed that she was feeling it, too. Remembering how it felt to be held, admired, so purely loved. Nothing had changed and I was still here. Her mama. Her mama. Oh, the love we both felt in that moment.
She finally broke the spell. Lifting her head a bit she said, “There was something I was going to do after this and now I can’t remember.” I told her my truth: that I couldn’t remember what it was that I had been planning to do either. We were lost in our connection; nothing else was as urgent, nothing else was as satisfying. So we sat together for a while longer. Snuggling and chatting about nothing in particular. It was an unremarkable scene in a world of seven wonders yet traveling the world couldn’t bring a thrill such as this.
Together we had all there is to have in a gasp of time: each other.
We have choices. In a fast and busy life, we can make it faster and busier. We can chase an elusive dream and plot all the ways we will rise to the top. We can organize our minutes by task and to-do, fret over the piles and the paperwork.
Or we can stop and make space. We can let go of worry and succeeding lest we fail. We can let the ends be loose and free without apology for not stressing over it. We can open to the possibility that single moment holds. That precious, solitary moment when our child comes to us, (to us!), and asks for some of our time. “Just a moment” is what you might say as you glance back at your work, asking her to wait. “Yes,” she might reply, not understanding your meaning. (All I’m asking for is just a moment.)
What will it give back?
And how many more moments will there be?
As many as you give.