I’ve discovered these past three years of mommyhood that children are often the best teachers in life. Several times a week I’m taught a lesson by my kids, but today I got a good one from someone else’s son. My YMCA is under construction, so I have to walk outside along a path and then up two flights of stairs to get from the drop off for child watch to the actual exercise equipment. As I was heading up the stairs into the weight room this morning, another mom was coming down from the landing with her 7(ish) year old son. As they reached the rail to head down the steps, the little boy stopped “Mommy!” he exclaimed, pointing over the rooftop of the main offices “Look at the view!”. The mother replied as I probably would have “Come on” she said “We’ve got to go”. “But look at the view mommy! It’s so pretty” he tried one more time before realizing his mother was wordlessly walking away without him. He scurried down the steps past me to catch up to her in the parking lot.
Now, I’ve been going up and down these stairs for two years. Never once have I paused at the top to take in the view. So, I decided today as I reached the top of the stairs, that I would. Gorgeous. Absolutely breathtaking. Over the peaks of frosted roofs and beyond the pointed tips of a swath of evergreens were beautiful Washington mountains silhouetted against a brilliant cloudless blue sky. The sun was shinning brightly as it can only do in the winter. Casting its warmth, yet crisp and clear at the same time. I paused and took in a couple deep breaths of the brisk clean air and marveled at how blessed I am to live in such an amazingly picturesque place.
In the business of life, we forget that the world around us is stunning. We were given five senses (not counting the amazing 6th one that enables my female relatives and I to communicate wordlessly during games and win every time) – but rarely use them to appreciate all the beauty around us. Instead of observing dew drops, a delicate flower or a brilliant moon rising, our eyes are preoccupied watching out for crazy drivers or viewing our latest e-mail. Rather than sit and listen to birds chirping or the hum of the wind hitting a patch of aspens, we are never without earphones, a radio or mindless chatter. Too often we only notice the bad smells – driving through Tacoma, someone’s beans from last night or whatever our neighbor is burning at the moment. We should take the time to savor strawberries, fresh cut grass and the lingering scent of a favorite perfume. Our weeknights are so crammed with activities that we shovel our dinners down, hardly tasting them at all. Each of your fingertips contains over one hundred distinct touch sensors, making in one of the most densely packed areas in your body – but they’re bored all day with the plastic of keyboards, pens and cell phones. All those sensors could be relishing the feel of a kitten’s soft fur, the roughness of a husband’s five o’clock shadow or the silky strands on a baby’s head.
I challenge each of you. Tomorrow, slow down and look at the view. I did today and it really is very pretty.