Time. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years. Moments.
I found myself sat on the floor, in the middle of the path, with people walking past me. I was sharing an ice cream cone with my toddler, the same toddler who had stopped me in my tracks by sitting down and patting the floor beside him. He was the reason we were sat on the floor, while people looked at us as if we were odd as they walked past. Who sits in the middle of a path?!
But there was a river, and there were ducks and ducklings on the river. And for a toddler it can be hard work to watch the ducklings, to process that excitement, without spilling your ice cream while still standing. We didn’t have anywhere else we needed to be. The older children were happily watching the nesting herons, practising their photography and identifying other wildlife. Grandad was sat comfortably on a park bench enjoying the sunshine, so for us the floor was as good a place as any to sit and watch the ducklings. We watched a heron try to land, and we saw the mummy duck fly into the air towards the heron to frighten it away, and we saw a tiny duckling zoom across the surface of the water and jump into the air to try to catch a fly. And I got to watch the wonder on my toddlers face, see his excited grin as he watched and licked his ice cream, I got to see this because I was sat next to him. I wasn’t standing over him, I wasn’t walking away from him trying to hurry him along, I wasn’t strapping him into a pushchair so that we could make our way around the lake at my pace. I was sat, on the floor, next to him.
It occurred to me, in my 14 yrs and 6 months of being a mother this was the first time that I have let go of the control, that I haven’t been hurrying, that I haven’t had my own agenda or a time table for an older child or somewhere to be or something else on my mind. Oh how I wish that I had enjoyed those sit on the floor and watch moments with the older children. How I wish that I had made the time to just see the look of amazement on their faces when they saw something new for the first time!
On the same trip out we had the opportunity to watch a heron hunting, we saw one catch kill and eat a duckling. It was sad, it was slightly traumatic but wow what a visual experience for an animal mad, home educated boy who aspires to be like David Attenborough! We were able to photograph and identify a bird that we hadn’t seen there before, a juvenile cormorant, we were able to spot the rabbits in the field, smell the bluebells and feel the sticky buds on the trees. Just taking our time, and observing nature in all its glory! Something that when you are walking along a path at an adults pace you just don’t generally get to do!
I could have taken the buggy. I could have kept walking. Encouraged my toddler to hold my hand and keep up. I could have picked him up and carried him when he sat down on the floor. I could have pointed out the heron, and then walked on by, missing it catching it’s dinner. I am so glad that I didn’t.
Enjoy those moments. Make those moments. It is those moments that memories are made from, and where the best learning happens. Those moments you get to see it in all its wonderful glory!!