Friday, September 8, 2017

Lessons in Stillness

Mural by Alan Aine

I just put Sloan down for a nap.
She was a bit overtired & couldn't get to sleep on her own. 
I began our normal bouncing/singing/shushing routine & nothing helped. 
So I just stopped. 
I stopped & lay down with her for a moment. 
She fell right to sleep. 
And in those calm moments with her I stopped thinking of my to-do list & reflected on one of the greatest gifts she has given me. 
The ability to stop.
Stop to breathe.
Stop to sleep.
Stop to eat. 
Stop to smell the flowers, 
to look at the street art, 
to watch the leaves fall.
Stop to listen.
Stop to pray.
Stop to smile. 
Stop to cry.
Stop to write.
During a visit from my own parents when Sloan was a couple months old & we were preparing for the cross country move to NYC, I was rushing around non-stop, & sometimes frustrated that I needed to stop to pump or nurse so frequently but my Mom said, Sloan is reminding you to stop & be still. And to a grumpy sleep deprived daughter, my Dad ordered me to take a nap - reminding me that everything will be better if I just be still for a few moments. 
And now here I am miles away, telling my own daughter, "It's ok. You are just tired."
Here I am walking slowly in one of the fastest cities in the world so that she can take it all in. 
One step at a time.
One person at a time.
One smell at a time.
And I can't help but be grateful for all that I have seen because of her. 
The detail on the Brooklyn brownstones.
The friendly smiles from strangers.
The grins on her face when she looks up to see if I am watching.
The look of concentration in her eyes when she is trying to master a new skill.
I imagine if I were in this city without her, I would have my headphones on & be one with the moving crowd.
Going to quickly to notice the wonders of the everyday. 
To notice the new flowers planted on the corner or the emotions on the faces of people at the bus stop or the little boy at the grocery store telling his mom about his day. 
How beautiful it is not to be lost in the crowd.

And just be still.

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