Lately I've been thinking about the million-and-one ways in which I am grateful that my husband goes out into the world and makes a living so that I can be home with the children. I love being with these little monkeys all day. I love following where they lead, seeing how their whims and interests will shape our day. While there is a loose routine, for the most part we are opportunistic, being ready for adventures wherever we might find them. Hmm, it's a gorgeous day today -- hey! let's walk to preschool! Someone's having a grumpy afternoon -- time for a baking project! The toddler spilled fish food all over the family room -- let's all help with the vacuum cleaner!
OK, some adventures are more fun than others.
But one of the things that is most special about being home, is that it is part of my job description to be fully present in each moment. It is my job to be paying attention, not just with a part of my brain, but with my whole soul. If I am to be what these children need, I can't just be here in body... I must completely be here. And if I start to drift away, if I allow myself to be scattered and distracted, they will let me know.
"Mom. Were you listening? Did you hear what I said?"
And once you are present, once you are fully, feet-on-the-ground present in your current daily life... you notice things. Not just all the million things that the children will point out to you if you give them the time and space to do so, but you start to see with their eyes. And you start to share their sense of wonder.
Today it was a bat in the window. A bat! In the window! We admired and studied it, marveled at its tiny feet. I laughed out loud. I smiled with all the muscles of my face. I felt their joy, their awe. I forgot about the to-do list, and was simply present with my children. And a bat.