Lately, I’ve been feeling like I can’t slow down. Life in America, right? I rush getting Ollie to daycare, impatiently wait in line at Starbucks, run to work, dash back home to get everyone ready for the evening. It’s non-stop, every day, week after week. I keep thinking to myself, how can I just live in the moment? I’ve said it a million times to other people, but how do I take my own advice and put my thoughts into action?
I hadn’t even noticed how overwhelming it had gotten until this past weekend when we took our family vacation to Forks, WA. I wanted to so badly to embrace the Twilight culture, sit on La Push beach, and hike deep into the rainforest. Something I had been looking forward to since college.
I was so ready for this vacation, between working several jobs and running off of almost no sleep, it was time. I didn’t want it to end but time kept flying by.
We made it. This trip was really happening. It was almost perfect, cabin in the woods, the fog rolling over the mountains tops and the fresh air so crisp you had to close your eyes to really take it all in. Kelly and I packed Ollie’s hiking bag. A million diapers, wipes, and snacks to feed an army. It was go time!
One mile feels like a hundred hiking with Ollie. Getting him started on the trails was taking forever. He was standing completely still, staring and just taking his time around every corner we took. I was getting super frustrated and yelling, “Come on, Ollie!” I just wanted to get to the river and at look out at the mountains before we had to dash back to the ferry. I just wanted him to hurry. Is that so much to ask?!
Then something amazing happened.
My snail-like child stood next to a tree stump, staring at it. Frustrated, I walked over, about to put him in the hiking pack, only to see him pointing at these little tiny mushrooms hidden in a stump. I thought, “Wow! How did I walk past that?” I bent down to his level and looked around to find the most luscious green moss and a baby banana slug! Our whole trip, I had been wanting to see a banana slug and here was a baby one, right in front of me! I couldn’t believe I had missed it.
Curious, I started watching Ollie walking around looking at the trees towering above him, touching the wet moss on the tree trunks, picking up rocks and inspecting them. He was taking in every moment, learning and enjoying his time. That’s what I’ve been searching for, time to just slow down for a minute.
I started to notice the moss, the trees above me, the way the dirt felt under my feet and the sound of the birds and rain as it dripped down from the forest. I even put my phone down from taking pictures. I suddenly found myself enjoying, well, myself. I felt happy and fulfilled with my time.
Driving the two hours back to the ferry gave me time to reflect on what it really meant to slow down. My child had taught me something, something he just does naturally, every day. He hasn’t been swept up into the world of rushing through life yet. If he hadn’t slowed me down, I would have never seen what was actually going on around me. I had forgotten what it really meant to enjoy the moment.
So maybe one mile feeling like one hundred isn’t so bad. If you’re always racing to the next moment, what happens to the one you are in? All in all, it’s amazing how such a little being can show you what you have been searching for years! Remember to enjoy those special moments!
Two PNW Mommies
“Sometimes you need to step off the worn path, lay down with your eyes up to the blue sky, interlock your fingers behind your head and let the grass grow up around you.” – Leo Christopher