We’re chaotically schlepping down the street, with what appears to be no system, no plan.
But there is a method to my madness.
I count religiously.
Always, always counting.
One wants to stop to pick up ‘goofy rocks’.
Another is jumping on cracks, singing of breaking backs.
(Mine, in particular).
“Move it, guys! We’ve got to go!”
And we trudge onward.
An older gentleman watches us as we head his direction.
I struggle to get them all to one side of the sidewalk.
My worry is that we will be in his way, cause him to stumble or hold him up in some way.
As we get closer, he smiles.
He calls out to me, “Your hands sure are full.”
Words that often bristle me don’t this time.
The knowing smile and sparkling eyes speak to my heart.
“We had four children, my wife and I.”
“It’s busy, but it’s fun,” I reply and keep walking.
Noticing the ‘goofy rocks’, he says, “Quite a collection you have there.”
And one to never miss a chance to speak of his blessed collection, my little man smiles and opens his hands gently.
Proudly displaying his treasures, he talks of the black one that sparkles and the one he found under his car seat.
I rush him through his words, finishing sentences for him.
The gentleman looks into my eyes and, without a trace of admonition, shushes me and winks.
Instead of being nonplussed and annoyed, I smile, knowing that he is right.
As we walk away, my throat tightens and my chest feels warm and heavy.
For all my talk of savoring the moment, I certainly don’t do it often enough.
Babbles become words before you know it.
But I want to remember the nonsense sounds.
Rocks fall from their tower of privilege to their home on the ground.
But I want to remember the joy of finding the perfect one and marveling at its perfect rockness.
Silly songs of childhood sung at the top of her lungs will soon cause her to face to redden and eyes to roll.
But I want to remember the reckless abandon of singing like the whole world wants to hear your song.
Stories of super secret spy missions will be left behind in search of grown-up goals and gimmicks.
But I want to remember how to believe that anything is possible as long as you have imagination and your trusty sidekick.
Pausing to hear their stories with my whole self, even when I’m busy.
Taking a moment to brush my fingers across their cheeks, even when we’re running behind.
Redistributing time to allow for gaps in my day, pockets of nothing made for just being.
Leaving breathing room in my moments, time to catch my breath and not worry about what is next on my list.
I think of the old man; how I was so worried we’d be in his way.
Yet, it seems, not only did he not mind us barreling into his day, he actually made room for us-in the moment and in his heart.
He didn’t see a mother struggling down the street with four rambunctious children.
He saw happy memories and moments long gone now brought back to life.
He already knew that distractions are not things from which we should hide.
They should be welcomed warmly and with affection, even if it wasn’t in the plan.