I’m a notorious dawdler. I stare up at the sky and watch the clouds, I stop to take in the scent of lilacs every spring, I watch squirrels as they zip across telephone poles. But today, when Frodo stopped to watch a broken sprinkler with water gushing out like a fountain, my first reaction was impatience. We were already running late.
At this point, I could have insisted on being in control. I could have dragged him away, carried him if I had to, and gotten on with my day. But then I took a good look at the water running from the sprinkler, watched it trickle away in shimmering little streams. And I could see why my son was so mesmerized. For a few minutes we just stood there together, silently watching the water. And then, without any prompting, he kept on walking.
It’s easy to get so hung up on being adults that we forget what it’s like to be a small child when everything is a wonder. We get so hung up on where we’re going that don’t stop and look around at where we are. Everyone around us tells us we need to be in control, when what our kids really need is connection. Sometimes they need us to just be there, to see the beauty in broken sprinklers.
There are many places I can’t wait to take my kids to, but I also can’t wait for all the times we stop to dawdle.