You may have heard many times something along the following lines: "Having a child with special needs has caused me to slow down and enjoy the small details of life rather than rushing from one milestone to the next."
I know I've said it before- many times. But rarely have I really specifically described what I mean by it.
Today something happened to make me feel this yet again, and I'm going to attempt to describe it to you. (It's a little difficult to put into words, but I'm going to give it the ol' college try)
Today I was stressed.
I tend to be a rather high strung person (no doubt this is a bit of a shock as I come across so chill and calm here on the blog. -insert snort of laughter).
Anyway, today I really had myself strung tight with worries and problems in imagined scenarios 6 paces ahead of where I actually am in life.
It was the kind of self absorbed stress where my head begins to throb and my neck aches from the tension.
We had a playdate at the park, so I loaded up both kids and we met friends at a new park to explore and play (which for Carter meant three pushes in the swing and then stroller/cheerio time and for Addison meant she wandered in either direction a few feet and took everything in silently...we're not the most exciting playdate attendees I guess)
Nevertheless, it was a lovely playdate which was over all too soon.
It was 4:10 and I still had to stop at the grocery store before starting bedtime rituals at 5 and we were 20 minutes away from home....my head was spinning, jumping ahead ten paces, planning each move carefully and feeling the exhaustion from carrying both babies into the store, filling our list as quickly as possible, carrying them both out again, into the house, feeding them, bathing them, changing them, putting them to bed....all long before it actually was to occur. (yeah...I might have teeny bit of a problem)
Anyway, we were in the grocery store.
I rarely do long grocery trips with both kids because their good behavior lasts for too short amount of time (and it's difficult to fit them both in the cart just right...don't get me started on this) but when I do, I buy Addison a blueberry muffin and feed it to her piece by piece. This buys me a good 15 minutes in which to get all my shopping done before she begins "CATAPULT BODY TO FLOOR FROM CART" mission.
Well, today I gave Addison the first piece from the muffin and then put the rest in the bag next to Carter.
When checking out, I glanced down to see this:
Little girl was hungry from her playdate/fresh air and had searched out the ENTIRE muffin and helped herself.
This made me completely stop, my spinning head stilled, and a huge smile broke out on the face that seconds before was no doubt forming new tension wrinkles.
1. Eating for her is such a battle. I won't go into it here, but she has a mouthful of teeth and pretty much refuses to use them. To see her willing search out more food (that she would have to chew) and feed it to herself was such a thrill.
2. She finished the piece that I gave her, wanted more and searched it out by herself without making a peep or asking me for help (it was wrapped inside a brown paper bag up next to Carter). Her show of independence and problem solving skills always makes me VERY happy.
3. The look of joy on her face and the way she was licking her lips as to not miss a crumb was so endearing. When I snapped the above picture, I could have sworn I heard her whispering to the muffin "hello, lover" (OK, that is a lie...but her face was saying that). Sometimes she can be very hard to read, and when she openly shows appreciation over something (especially food that is not chocolate) it always makes me sit up and take notice.
So in that moment when I looked down and saw her calmly eating a muffin almost the size of her face, my heart started dancing to the songs in my head (corny? Of course. I wouldn't have it any other way-insert some sort of joke about a corn muffin)
Out in the parking lot?
Her grubby fingers had a death grip on her muffin.
Buckling her into her car seat?
She WOULD NOT let go of the muffin. (We finally did one arm at a time)
Arriving home, I put her at the bottom of the front porch steps and asked her to climb up on her own. Trying to help, I pried the half eaten muffin out of her hands so that she could use both hands to do the climbing.
By the resulting screams and shrieks you would have thought she was on fire-or being tortured-or...well, you get the picture.
Right in the house, I put her in the high chair and she finished the WHOLE THING. Throwing the paper on the floor she SAID and signed
I was so proud. And happy. And unstressed as my mind had skittered back to the present-to the moment-to focus solely on A MUFFIN for the space of almost an hour.
Such a small thing.
But it really made me stop in my tracks and appreciate the life right in front of me right now.
I stopped thinking about the muffins that I need to buy next year and instead used tiny fingers to balance a delicious, oversized blueberry muffin in front of large blue eyes; study it in every glorious detail; and sink carefully sharpened (and rarely used) teeth into the soft goodness one joyous bite at a time (vicariously through Addison, of course)
While I was stuck in thinking-too-fast-and-too-far-ahead mode; worrying and panicking, Addison was focused on the one thing in front of her- a muffin.
And that is just a sliver of the pie of awesomeness that she brings to my life. (muffin pie, of course. is there such a thing???)
I know I'm the mother and everything, and I am the one supposed to be teaching HER, but more often than not, I'm the one learning from her.
Slowing down life is a good thing (especially when you tend to jump ahead far too quickly like I do), and Addison brings precisely that to my life. (hmmmm, you would think that someone who knew that about me actually PLANNED her to be my daughter! GASP. Imagine that....)