This is how I heard it first. Right out of the mouth of a two year old who already knows more than I do. Allow me to take you there. 4:30 p.m., the dreaded transition time—I’m coming in the door from work with an armful of files and books, desperately trying to adjust to my role at home. My real office. You know, the time when you begin recalling all the important questions about what you had missed while you were away all day.
No more scheduled appointments to remember , no more adult dialogue—it’s all about the basic needs-poo, food and sleep. I reawaken the part of my brain dominated by the needs of a two year old, all the care and concern come rushing in. I begin praying I don’t learn anything to stir and awake the friend in my head called mommy guilt for not being here to experience it myself.
Then, it happens. I drop everything, literally. My entire load from work comes crashing down papers, files, books… everywhere. It was one of those moments where a crazy laugh and irresistible urge to use adult language come rushing in. You've got to be kidding me.
I desperately try not to let this set the tone for the evening, but fail miserably. I’m grunting, very loudly—resisting the urge—and Ava bends down to meet me at the floor where I am picking up the pieces. She takes her little hands and grabs my face, peers right into my eyes and says, “Mommy…no big deal.” UGH. At this moment, the revolving door passes behind me and I’m on the other side. Dreaded transition…done. Thanks Ava. I realize, for the first time since I’ve walked through the door, Ava is watching. She’s there… watching, learning, taking notes, paying attention. I also realize, at this moment, she is the teacher and I am the student.
When and how did I lose this ability to be completely present? In relationship with one another or in reference to a project, assignment or task—anything we choose to do-when do we stop completely showing up? 100% in one place, at one time—a place where thoughts operate in a vacuum, where history or experiences don’t interfere with the possibility of new perspective.
I am often reminded how children continue to teach. What would my world be like without the mind and presence of a child?