Serenity Now: A Mom’s Moment of Sunshine

Our first outing today begins as a dermatology appointment for my six year old – not fun. But luckily for the kids, the doctor’s office building backs up to the Green Belt along the Boise River. The boys see the river and want to take a walk down to water’s edge for a quick look and rock toss (my boys’ favorite thing to do). It is an unplanned activity that might take ten minutes. But time passes and instead of my usual, “Ok boys, time to go”, I realize, we don’t have to be anywhere for hours. What the heck? Let them have some fun and enjoy this great autumn day.

 It’s Thursday. I should be at work today, but instead I am lucky to be sharing a peaceful moment sitting in the sunshine watching my boys play with rocks and sticks by the river. I’m enjoying a beautiful setting and a spontaneous joy. Rarely do we have spontaneous moments anymore. As grown ups, it seems we always have somewhere to be on time, someone to not disappoint, some thing to clean, someone to pick up, some extra bill to suck away our fun money. Being responsible busy adults literally sucks the spontaneity right out of us. Which is why this moment feels so good, even with a worrywart voice in the back of my mind, but fun-me soon slaps her and takes over.

So what if they get dirty? They can change before going to Grandma’s house later. Let them have this fun time on their day off. It is their day off too after all, not just mine. Should they have to spend it being dragged all over town catching up on Mom’s errands? Or watching cartoons all day while I clean house? No. They are kids. They should be outside. They should be in nature. Let them get their feet wet and wipe their muddy hands on their shirts. They’re boys, they need it sometimes. Just as mommy sometimes needs her hobbies. This is what they are meant to be doing and should be doing everyday. Not trapped in the house hypnotized by the television, or bored at daycare, or in a classroom made to sit still.

I’m sitting here on the rocks, quietly watching. There’s no breeze, the sky is clear, the sun straining through the canopy of the trees. The leaves are barely starting to turn yellow in places. The water is calming in this slower part of the river. Only a block away, the sound of traffic is a mere white noise. All I see around me is tranquil and serene, nature and God. It’s like a cleansing of the soul.

The best part is, I’m not yelling at them to not fall in the water. I’m not telling them what to do or how to do it. I’m just letting them be…just letting them play…just all three of us being ourselves. And unlike at home, they are not hurting each other, tattling on each other, making a mess, or pestering me for things. They are working as a team: brother helping brother. Not a single unkind word is spoken.

I admit I try to cheat a couple times. As we first approach the river I have them pose on a large rock for a picture with my cell phone. But my blackberry freezes up and the picture doesn’t save. I was irritated at first. Then I sit down while they play and think, this would be a great photo for a mobile post to Facebook. Making the coworkers jealous of my surroundings while they are in gray cubicle land. But the cell phone camera is still giving me errors. Maybe my battery is too low? I take the current book I’m reading from my purse and start to open it then stop myself. I should be soaking up this beauty as much as my children. Not distracting myself with another kind of entertainment. The kids always accuse me of reading too much anyway. I put the book back.

Then I am struck with so much inspiration, I find an old receipt and a folded up Google map in my purse and start scribbling notes on the back of them. Not to mask the moment, but just to capture it. I am bursting to share it with someone and wanting to remember it always. So maybe I’m not exactly paying full attention to the boys but that’s when they become who they are, when parents stop hovering so much, and just let them be.

Besides they are learning right now. I see my six-year-old building a bridge of rocks out into the water to reach a floating stick he wants (problem-solving). I hear my eight-year-old instructing him on how to build a suitable habitat for the minnows and water skippers (science). Now they’re building sculptures with small logs (art). My six-year-old realized that if he steps in the river getting his socks and shoes wet he’s got to live with it until we get home. Mom does NOT have spare clothing in this massive purse. And much to his surprise Mom is not getting upset at him for getting wet. Not rushing to his aid to get his feet dry. It takes him a couple seconds to accept it, and then he’s like ‘cool’ and gets back to playing.

Part of me can’t help but think we should get going. We should be doing something to make the most of our time. There are things that need done. We shouldn’t be wasting the day. But that is our fast-paced society must-be-productive brainwash mentality. This isn’t a waste of anything. Soaking up the great weather when we don’t know how many more perfect days we’ll have this year. Letting kids be happy kids. Letting them explore, be active and inventive. Being a part of nature where we feel more like ourselves. It is relaxation of the mind and releasing of stress. This is almost as good as a massage.

Today I am very grateful for being a mom. Thank you Parent-Teacher Conferences for giving us this day off. And thank you God for this much needed and cherished moment. Time to go, I’m being summoned over for a tour of their pond and all their creations.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sally
    Oct 21, 2011 @ 00:14:40

    O Kate, I’m so proud of you, you are the best parent I’ve ever known. Really. and I love to read whatever you write. And this is exceptional….. Never stop writing…Please submit this to parent magazine, or some other….These beautiful thoughts should be shared…..


  2. amberkelpedean
    Oct 17, 2011 @ 19:52:17

    I love it! Very inspriational. I get so busy that sometimes I forget the small stuff for sure.


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