Practice: Living

My dear friend and talented co- worker, Adrianne Robinson, has made a blog in the lens of balancing real life with motherhood and teacherhood. It is called "I Was Thinking Out Loud" and is so beautifully written and crafted, even to someone who doesn't have little ones at home :)....

 

It was after my first cup of coffee.  After my tired feet hit the floor and crept quietly down the stairs trying not to wake my children.  I just wanted to relish in the peace and hear only the creaks of the floor and the sound of my own deep breaths. I had a few moments to catch up on some of the work that stirred me from my slumber.

Lost in the motion of crossing things off my “to-do” list, something in the distance caught my eye.  It wasn’t someone asking me to cut the crusts off of their toast or for another glass of juice.  It was a magician performing magic tricks. He managed to pull more than just cards out of that magical hat.  He pulled rabbits, and cars and dinosaurs.  He pulled and stretched his imagination right before my own eyes. I found myself transfixed on him and found it harder to focus on my work. In need of that second cup of coffee, I walked to the kitchen to fill my cup of those magical coffee beans.

Upon my return, the magician had vanished and in his place was a knight with a sword fighting off the dragons that threatened the to harm the queen of his castle. The pour of my coffee slowed as I watched him climb on top of the couch and stare down the dragons.  He was no longer the six-year-oldI saw before, but a valiant defender of the queen. What I neglected to see …was that I was his queen. I thought I was the one keeping him safe, but here he was protecting me.

I took my coffee into the living room, put away my computer.  Any work that I once saw as important faded from view as I watched my little boy play.  He created a world with his mind that was so vivid, so crisp.  I can’t imagine the thousands of times he had done this before and I had been “too busy” to notice or too distracted to see.  I don’t see the world the way he does, but for these next few moments, I did.  It was beautiful!

I began to watch him more closely with eyes full of wonder and a heart filled with love.  After he had slain the dragons, he traded his sword for the hat of a pirate and a hook for his hand. My knight in shining armor had turned into a swashbuckling, patch-eyed pirate on a quest for the forbidden loot of snacks I had tucked away in the pantry. He navigated his ship through shark-infested waters and torrential downpours to find his beloved“Pirate Booty.” The couch that was once a drawbridge to the castle was now a gangplank to his treasure!

Shortly after his quick snack break, the pirate hat and hook were swept away into the ocean and soon the path of pillows on the floor let me know that hot lava was about to fill the room! This triggered memories of my brother and I having the same adventure over 30 years ago. I’m so glad I didn’t miss this, these treasured moments that he will hopefully one day look back on and remember with the same fondness that I do. But there’s no time for sappy nostalgia when my slippers are about to be melted by the lava that rapidly flowed through my living room.  Luckily, with just seconds to spare a tiny hand grabs mine pulling me to safety. Who knew the tiny hand of a 6-year-old would hold such brevity and confidence as we jumped from pillow to pillow avoiding the molten lava that nipped at our toes. I was told that the safest place was at the top of the highest mountain. The same stairs I climb 50 times a day was now the setting for a treacherous climb.  I saw it too.  I saw the rocks tumble beneath his feet.  I saw him lose his grip, but power through. I never noticed the life lessons a child’s imagination can create and put into action. What else did he learn throughout his morning of slaying dragons, and being the pirate of a ship?  What did he learn while he hopped over the obstacles that the hot lava presented?  Will he know that no matter what mountain he climbs throughout his life, I will always be right there behind him?

Today I saw life through the eyes of a child… my child. I watched the couch I’ve told him not to jump on disappear and play the role of a drawbridge and a pirate ship. I watched my decorative pillows become unsteady respites of safety among lava and my staircase turn into a mountainous creation of my son’s imagination. I will remember these two cups of coffee as the sweetest cups I’ve ever had, all because I put down my work and picked up my child.

Emily Tully