A Life Stirred

The Luxury of a Slower Pace

on May 20, 2014

Last week I went walking with my friend, Dawn, at the mall.  (Our mall is pretty lame-o as far as malls go, but as an indoor track, it has potential.)  With the girls strapped into a double stroller, we were able to walk and chat.  It was an ideal set-up.

But after a few laps (mall laps?), Joanna wanted to walk.  Being the awesome mom that I am, I let her.  (And by “awesome mom”, I just mean that I thought, “Hey, if this kid does a few mall laps, she’ll probably take a good nap later.”)

Our pace slowed considerably.  There was more waiting.  There was more wandering (by the two year old…not by the grown-ups).  There was more apologizing to random strangers for the two year old that just bounced off their legs.  There were more interruptions to our conversation.

The elderly people either think a jogging toddler is adorable or annoying.  There’s no middle ground.  (This was a different mall trip, and no, Joanna did not knock that kid over.)

The elderly people either think a jogging toddler is adorable or annoying. There’s no middle ground. 

But then my dear friend said something that has totally changed the way that I view my life with toddlers.

She said with a longing sigh, “I miss the days when I could just go slowly.”

You see, her kiddos are 14, 13, 10, and 7 (and 8 and in Haiti…but he’ll be here soon).  They’re all big kids.  And with big kids comes an exponential increase in the busyness of life.  There’s school and doctor’s appointments and youth group and sports and plays and homework and deadlines and on and on!!  They are rushing and hustling from one activity to another.  [And for the record, her kids are limited in the number activities, but with 4 kids, one activity each is still four different activities!]

Seeing my meandering toddler brought back some sweet memories for my friend—days with her own wandering toddlers and no real schedule or commitments.  She fondly remembers just letting her kids go at their own pace and enjoying their time without any pressure to be somewhere rightthisveryminute!

Um.  Whoa.

It really got me thinking.  Do I fully value this time I have to just go slowly with my girls?  Do I appreciate the fact that we can wander and explore and learn and study and have adventures at a moment’s notice?

Or do I create artificial deadlines and timelines and schedules and force my girls to hustle so that we can stay on my schedule?

Hmm.  I’m not sure I want to answer that.

Because you know what?  My desire to go at my speed is actually pretty selfish.  Sometimes it’s not.  Sometimes it’s because we need to be somewhere at an actual time (doctor’s, playdates, church, etc).  But more often than not, we don’t actually have anywhere to be.  I’m just being selfish with my time.  I’m saying my schedule and my needs are more important.  <Gulp.>

BUT when I let them go at their pace, they learn that they matter to me.  Because, really, isn’t loving my girls and teaching them one of the most important jobs I have?

Another important job I have?  Taking dorky, back-lit selfies.

Another important job I have? Taking dorky, back-lit selfies.

So, this week, when it takes Joanna 5 minutes to go up the stairs, I will take a deep breath, remind myself that we can go slow, and enjoy the process.

When she wants to pick up every. single. rock at the mailbox, I will take a deep breath and let her explore.

When she requests one more song at bedtime, I will take a deep breath and sing “Jesus loves me” one more time.

When the girls want to help sort the laundry, I will take a deep breath and thank my lucky stars that my two year old WANTS to help so much!

When the girls want to help sort the laundry, I will take a deep breath and be thankful that my two year old *wants* to help with laundry!

So, thanks to my very wise friend, I will be slowing down.   I will be taking deep breaths (because I’m actually not very patient).  I will be letting go of my schedule and my plans.  And I will enjoy the luxury of a slower pace.

 

 

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4 responses to “The Luxury of a Slower Pace

  1. ah, this entry is so good!

  2. Erin Kolb says:

    good stuff Carley! I struggle with slowing down too, I’m very much one to have a schedule and set to it…as I was reading this I kept thinking how I set my phone alarm for when we are playing outside so we can have lunch at lunch time…but really what does that matter, if they wanna play in the sand more or swing more they obviously aren’t hungry and I should just drop the scheduled lunch time!

  3. Jess T says:

    **heart**

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