I stopped to smell the roses. I really had no choice.

by janevermeulen on October 7, 2014 · 0 comments

Before I had a child, I enjoyed a comfortable and relatively fast-paced life. My agenda was filled with work, volunteer and social commitments. The thought of relaxation made me stressed–it meant one more thing for me to do. After I had my son, my agenda continued to be filled, but now I somehow had to coordinate all the responsibilities with an infant. There were not enough lines in the agenda for my daily activities. Fortunately, my son was not mobile and was easily entertained. And a real charmer. Old women, young men, teenagers–they all wanted to hold him and make him giggle. I was able to attend meetings and go on coffee dates. Sadly, my son eventually started crawling and then walking. He would still giggle, but usually in passing when he was running away with my wallet. My life was becoming more chaotic.

But then something odd happened. My son developed an insatiable curiosity and everything was new and required studying. My purse was a treasure chest of mysteries and toys. Going to the library was no longer a quick trip to grab books from the reserve section. My son had to touch all the buttons on the computer keyboard. And then he had to play with the toys in the corner. And then pull some books off the shelf and flip through them. He also needed to socialize with the librarians and the other patrons. Finally, he had to end the trip with a minor temper tantrum so that I knew that he was not done searching for the perfect board book. The term “running into the library” no longer existed for me.

Yesterday, we took our son for a walk in Paradise Meadows at Mount Washington. We strapped him into our hiking backpack and headed off at a fast pace. I wanted Miki to experience the meadow, so I let him walk on the trail. Our quick walk was turning into a gentle stroll. We were followed by a small flock of whisky jacks that Miki had to talk to and try to catch. The trail had many steps that my son approached with the same intensity as a hiker preparing to scale Mount Everest. But, unlike a hiker, my son did not want the help of his Sherpas. So, we waited as he scaled each step. And then we waited, as he had to stamp his feet on the metal grates of a platform. And then we stopped waiting when he decided to turn around and head back in the opposite direction.

As we were walking back, I said to my husband that having a child has slowed me down. It seems like a paradox that I have more stress in my life but seem more relaxed. I can’t go out in the afternoon during nap time, so I am forced to sit at home, read books and watch reality television. I rarely rode my bike before, then I had a child’s bike seat installed and now I ride the Galloping Goose so that my son gets a chance to enjoy the fall colors. And yet, none of this was written in my agenda.

Although being a parent has introduced new levels of anxiety, it has also brought a new level of joy. Today at kinder gym, the battery on my cell phone died and I just put the phone in my purse and continued to play. And on our way out, we stopped to pick up a leaf. It was my choice.

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