Sometimes life feels like one of those connect-the-dots books.
Like I’m just jumping from check box to check box, dot to dot, hurrying to the next to-do, the next super-important-thing. DOT, line, DOT, line, DOT, line.
Lately, I really like the lines.
The places that don’t pop out at me when I’m looking at the dry erase calendar next to the mudroom, but rather, the footsteps between them. The moments of surprise and the movements of the Spirit. The hilarious conversations with my 5-year-old at bathtime about her imaginary life as a mermaid. My 3-year-old singing Eidelweiss with all the emotion of Captain von Trapp. Sitting on the back patio when Fall decides to visit — bringing with it a rain shower of gold, apricot and crimson leaves.
I too often stress about trying to pick the perfect homeschool curriculum, planning the most creative projects to inspire my children, finding the perfect complements to whatever we’re studying, doing, becoming.
And then I lay with my 8-year-old in his bed at night in the glow of a lamp light. And we talk about the moon. And magnets. And taxidermy. (All sorts of subjects come up before bedtime.) And I make real eye contact and really listen and really answer and I am reminded that life’s greatest lessons are not hard to find if we are still for a moment.
They are the daily routine, the sometimes seeming drudgery, the chores and bores and the lines between the dots. They are the dusty corners of the day and the lazy moments of the evening when we are slower, more present, more able to hear and be heard.
They are the moments of exhale — the places that not many other people see, but that everyone remembers.
I don’t remember many details of my school projects growing up, but I remember my mother brushing my hair.
I remember her reading me Anne of Green Gables before bed at night. I remember my father’s favorite evening snack and the board games we’d play together. And I stood there last night behind my blonde kindergartener (sometimes mermaid) and I brushed her wet hair after bathtime and we both looked at each other in the mirror and grinned. These are the sweet lines of life that become the smile lines on our faces.
And I don’t know about you, but there was a time I wanted to do big things. Now I realize that the biggest things in life often happen with the smallest audience. The butterfly kisses and first steps and the shared afternoon coffees and the slow dances with my husband by the kitchen island.
Between all the important stuff is where life happens.
“Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.”