I feel like so many hours of my life rush past me in a blur. To be fair, many of the hours are indistinguishable anyway--changing diapers, making oatmeal for breakfast, dropping William off at school, making dinner, running errands. But too often, I put my head down and push my way through my day, trying to carve out time here for a freelance assignment and carve out time there to make sure we have fresh milk and bread in the house.
I try to remind myself to slow down. I try to remind myself what everyone always tells me: that my son will only be little once, that I need to stop and enjoy him while I can, that this time is precious.
Sometimes it works, and I stop and look around me. I memorize the way William sucks his upper lip in when he's concentrating on something. I note the way he waves his arms as he tells me something very important about whatever his favorite toy of the day is. I remember to say a blessing before we dig into our dinner.
But it's hard, as an adult and as a parent, to live in the now like that all the time. For very small children, the only time is the now. That's all they know. It's the only way they know how to live. Soon, probably sooner than I'd like, William will begin to grasp the concept of the future. He will become impatient with waiting--waiting for Christmas, waiting to be big enough to ride a bicycle, waiting for whatever he's just not old enough to do yet. But for now, his life is just that: now.
We walked up to the neighborhood playground the other afternoon, just to get out of the house for awhile. On the way home, we walked down a street where many of the houses have flowers or flowering plants by their mailboxes or in corner gardens by their driveways. William stopped at every single place where there were flowers, dropped my hand, leaned over to the flowers and inhaled their scent. Every single one. He didn't skip a single row of slowly dying zinnias or miss a modest clump of rosebushes enjoying the late summer sun.
I knew what he was doing, and first I was stunned into silence. Then I was charmed. He was literally living out the proverb of "stop to smell the roses." It was completely instinctual and natural for him. He did this purely for the pleasure of enjoying the flowers. If there were flowers, then he wanted to appreciate them. So he did. He did not worry about getting home to start dinner. He did not worry about how long it took us to get home (and it took us ages to finally make it home). But for once, I was able to live in the now with him. My inner clock kept ticking, but I was able to ignore it for a little while and just be.