“I want to go outside, see the ba…ther,” Pickle tentatively mumbled the last word, like she knew it didn’t sound right.
”Ba-ther?” I was puzzled myself.
”Yea, ba..ther… ba…fer… feb..?” she toyed with the words in her mouth.
After several back-and-forth’s, I figured it out. “You mean weather?”
”Yeah!” She exclaimed, “Let’s go outside; check the weather!”
I was hesitant. There’s chai simmering on the stove, waiting for My Guy to get home with Little Miss, and the sun is setting. It was probably starting to get frigid again, although the high that day was a balmy 20 degrees, compared to the –5 on Monday.
The two-year-old and I spent the day indoors, mostly playing with her toys downstairs in the family room and keeping the cable guy company. She sat on her knees and watched him while he upgraded our equipment and in response to his question, you’re cute you know that?, she said, “Yeah, I know.”
After a quiet day in, I couldn’t bring myself to jump at the chance of being outside. In fact, I was anxious to be done with the dreaded tasks of the witching hour – violin practice, the girls’ dinner and bedtime prep – so I could fast forward and enjoy a double-date night with My Guy and another couple that involved a tour and tasting at the local craft distillery and uninterrupted, grownup conversations in some restaurant with lovely, ambient lighting afterwards.
But, of course, you know what happens with kids and best laid plans… While I busied myself in the kitchen, Pickle had already pulled on her hat, scarf, and mittens over her pajamas (it’s always Pajama Day when we don’t leave our house), and she chose her sparkly Mary Jane’s for her feet. “I’m all set!”
I laughed at the coatless, sockless girl and was tempted to say, no you’re not, but acquiesced and helped her with her jacket and changed her fancy footware to boots instead. Still sockless, however, at her insistence. Whatever. We probably wouldn’t go far anyway. If she wanted to feel the cold outside air, the sockless feet might convince her of the cold “ba-ther” more efficiently. And perhaps we’ll quickly be back on task and on schedule again.
When we stepped outside, we caught sight of the rest of our family and both girls happily ran towards each other on the sidewalk. Reunited! The two-year-old then marched towards the lake, and we had no choice but to follow. She didn’t stop until we reached the snow-covered beach, “Check this out guys!”
The trees and buildings faded behind, and the view expanded to the breathtaking twilight on the lake before us. Suddenly the clock stopped ticking in my head, and all intentions to hurry ceased as I became overwhelmed with awe and gratitude. I would’ve missed this had it not been for Pickle. This little girl, who forced me to slow down and veer off course so we could do this, who inadvertently reminded me that it’s often the little things that mean the most, who insisted that we look up from our busy lives.
And behold the view.
Amid the constant chaos and frenetic pace of our lives, it’s hard to remember that we do, indeed, live in a beautiful world. In our relentless pursuit of happiness, we forget that propelling ahead is not the only thing that will get us there. Sometimes we go further by standing still.