My children are HIGHLY distractible.
On every walk, they stop to smell the roses, eat some clover, find the perfect stick, catch a beetle, look in a hole…you get the drift.
They will even ignore a favorite TV show to watch the erratic flight of a rogue housefly in our living room. (This happened today.)
Their distractibility is really quite astounding.
Sometimes I find it frustrating. Like the times when they simply cannot pick up all their toys because they just discovered that a fishing net will fit perfectly on their sister’s head. Must. Net. Sister. Or the fact that we cannot get through a meal without someone darting off to “do something” or even just take a daydreamy walk.
But, sometimes…Sometimes I find it inspiring. Like the times when they stoop to pick a beautiful flower in the grass. Most people (including me) would only see a weed; my kids see a perfectly formed, peachy-salmon flower the size of a sesame seed that they absolutely must pick for Mommy. And my heart melts.
The other day, I decided to take the kids creeking (this is an official term in our household). So I put on their suits and packed up our towels, fishing nets, buckets, some snacks, drinks, the diaper bag, extra clothes, and a chair for me to sit on (you know, the normal stuff) and we headed to a creek nearby. I parked the van, loaded S into the stroller and everything else onto my body like a pack mule. The walk to the creek was not long, we could see the clearing from the parking lot, but it had just rained (hard.) and we had to pass several puddles on the way. I put my head down and started walking faster, knowing the puddles would distract. “Mommy, can we jump in that puddle?” See? I knew they wouldn’t make it to the creek. “Not now. We want to get to the creek.” The creek would be perfect. We’d been there before. It has a little bank for my chair, some pebbles to throw in the water, crayfish to catch, and lots of shallow water to splash around in. Perfect.
Showing unprecedented amounts of self control K & J stayed out of not just one, but all four of the giant, amazing, oh so enticing puddles on the way to the creek.
We made it to our destination! …And it was a raging river. I somehow didn’t think about how the torrential rains that had formed those giant puddle would also affect our little creek. Big time. The bank for my chair and those pebbles to throw in the water were completely submerged and that shallow water they were supposed to splash in was 2-4 feet deep and moving fast enough to push me under. My kids were NOT going in there.
Disappointing day. Failed expectations. Turn around. Go home.
Not my kids.
They live in the moment.
The journey is more important than the destination.
They see beauty everywhere.
And they deem every little thing worth exploring.
So we went back to those glorious puddles and spent almost two hours happily splashing, belly flopping, and fishing for flip flops.
K, J, and S, thank you for teaching me how to live.