It is a curious thing to me, the way online friendships develop. I remember starting out as a blogger and clicking randomly on links posted by others, never knowing who or what I might find. I clicked on a post under the title of Graceful, and found a place I began to return to again and again.
I had the privilege of meeting Michelle last fall at the formerly known Relevant (now Allume) Conference. It is my privilege to host her here today.
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It stops me in my tracks halfway down aisle 7 in SuperSaver: the sweetish, baby-powder scent of Pampers. Suddenly I’m catapulted back four or five years, to a time of diapers, clean bottles stacked precariously in the dish rack, pacifiers, Good Night Moon and pastel-plaid blankets littering the coffee table, couch and floor.
I don’t miss it.
Maybe that sounds startling. And it’s true, most mothers pine at least occasionally for the touch of that soft, new skin pressed against their cheek, wisps of fine hair beneath their palm. Perhaps I don’t because one of my boys was terribly colicky and acted more like a howler monkey than a sweet infant for the first six months of his life. Or maybe it’s just that I love where we are right now with our boys — still a ways from the sulky teenage years, but old enough to converse about something other than Elmo.
I like being with them. They teach me. They help me see.
Last week my ten-year-old glanced at the gratitude journal I keep open on the kitchen counter. He read #1,019: “Slow bike ride with Noah.”
I thought about that bike ride, how we’d pulled off the path, straddling our bikes with our sneakers in the sand to watch a golden Meadowlark singing crisply from the top of a pine tree. I remembered how we’d leaned our bikes against the back of the metal bench and rested beneath the oak tree at the top of the hill; how we’d laughed at the mallards bumping and bobbing over the lake waves.
I thought about how it had taken us an hour and 45 minutes to ride to Holmes Lake and back, a route I ride in well under an hour when I’m alone. I thought about how little I see when I speed along, bent on burning calories and getting my exercise over with for the day.
“Yeah, honey,” I answered Noah, his index finger still pointing to #1,019. “Slow is good. Slow is really good.”
What’s your favorite slow-down activity to do with your kids or on your own?
[For further reading, try Ann Kroeker’s Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families – practical ideas and insights for how to reap the riches of a simpler, slower lifestyle with your family.]