“Walk Slowly, Mama”

I slipped on the ice, and fell in the dark on our driveway. Linnea and Ben were getting settled in the car before we headed to the Christkindl Markt. I was heading to our trash cans to toss some leftover remnants from our last little road trip. In fact, they were still fiddling with the car seat belt while I lay there, on the hard rocks and smooth ice, lost in my own thoughts.

That has been happening a lot lately. (Getting lost in my own thoughts, not falling on ice.) When I am not thinking about my family, I am thinking about school or Christmas preparation or friends or my own interests or or or…The list is endless. I used to be good about tuning it all out. Being present. Appreciating the moment. Maybe I am just experiencing a lapse in my ability to do so. Whatever it is, it seemed to quite literally knock me off my feet. There I sat on the driveway thinking how pitiful it was that I had fallen, and all because I was trying to squeeze out every ounce of that moment.

Grateful only my ego was injured, I walked carefully back to the car. Ben and Linnea were oblivious anything had happened, so I told them. After establishing I was ok, Ben mentioned something about me needing to focus, especially now that our keys were lost. Then, we spent a good five minutes searching until we found them splayed across our neighbor’s driveway. Linnea was mostly quiet during the conversation and search.

Two minutes into our drive while commenting on Christmas lights, Linnea stretched her neck and loudly said above the carols in the background, “Walk sloooowly, Mama.” I smiled and realized my daughter was teaching me a valuable lesson. A lesson she had perfected, and one with which I was still struggling.

I took her message to mean more than simply being careful while walking in the dark of winter (which, clearly, I also still need to learn). I need to slow down. I need to learn to wait, listen, and simply sit. I need to ignore the endless stream of thoughts passing through my mind as I would billboards on the interstate. Walking slowly means appreciating the moment, and not trying to squeeze another item off the to-do list simply because there is a little bit of idle time.

Walking slowly means putting one foot in front of the other, and nothing else. It is in lessons such as this that I realize I have just as much to learn from my two-year old daughter as she does from me.

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