Parent, Reflect


Our kids teach us about the present, not about planning for the future. At three, Ava lives only in the moment. Most of the time, this is good news. While I’m still recovering from an exhausting meltdown (hers, not mine), Ava has moved on to something else. The other day, I found myself tainted by the residue of emotional frustration, wanting nothing more than to put myself in a timeout—while Ava was crawling into my lap to tell me I’m her best friend.

I get why we teach children a second language when they are young, Ava’s memory is endless. People, places, and tiniest of details from past experiences … I find myself asking her to help me remember. If it was important—Ava remembers. The best part of her recollection is her careful accounting—every detail is significant and deserves equal amount of attention.

As mamas, we are planners. We live in the future—a constant state of forward motion. Who else will make sure the refrigerator is full (with the right stuff) or the sheets on the guest bed are clean BEFORE company arrives? Who considers every developmental milestone, BEFORE it’s time? Day-to-day routine, meal planning, family time, social calendar…we’re days ahead of everyone else in the house. While we are on the peripheral, planning away in order to avoid pandemonium, what are we missing from the heart of the chaotic present moment? In the midst of the everyday little things life offers, Ava invites me to stop and take a second look.

The other day Ava says, “Mommy, the clouds are moving”…initially I’m thinking well yes, of course they are, they always move. Next, I began working out how I might break it down for her and give her a little science lesson—you know, don’t want to pass up a teachable moment. But then, I saw a different version, it wasn’t about the science behind a typical cloud. In this moment, we sat together and watched. I couldn’t recall the last time I witnessed the weather change so quickly, it was fascinating and beautiful. I’d forgotten how schizophrenic spring in the Northwest can be; we experienced sun, rain and hail in the matter of five minutes. It was the best five minutes I’d spent sitting still in a long time. On this spring day, Ava’s the reason I noticed.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence, how Ava loves rainbows. She notices them everywhere. She insists we move anything and everything in the way, protecting the light–Ava allows the rainbow to show itself.

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