Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It was supposed to be a short walk. Really, it was. It hadn't been my idea in the first place. But somehow, Piper got it into her head that we were going for a walk, and I've let her hopes down so often lately, I couldn't hand her another "no" for her growing boundary collection.

I took a break from my work to change her diaper, but she decided we were getting ready to "go-go!" and laid down with rare compliance to get the change, complete with "goop" for the diaper rash she's had this week. (She always makes sure we remember the "goop.") As I finished, she was chattering away about "pants" and "shoes" and how we were going for a "wa'k" (she hasn't got that "l" yet), and when she was dressed again, she ran to the gate in front of the door with such a happy, "one, two - SIX!" (she knows "three,' I know she does! Only it's "pfhree" with her...) - I just couldn't turn her down.

So we went for a walk. I intended only to go to the end of the street and back, but the first 200 feet took us 15 minutes, because Piper was finding treasure.

She stopped for handful after handful of acorns to put in her pockets ("pox"), and we found feathers and a red dogwood "beerwee" and a round rock. She likes those rocks. We found little white flowers (that wilted overnight).

Finally, after stopping every ten steps or so, I impatiently asked her if she wanted to go to the park (for the sake of getting somewhere, since I was already time-wasting in my mind) and we finally started walking, treasure-laden.

I don't think of fallen acorns and rocks and feathers and dogwood berries and random pink squirrelies as treasure. I've been so busy trying to record and process pictures of others' memories in time for Button's birth; it's all I can see most of the time. But I'm missing my own treasure, holding back my heart from her "until later," because I just have to get through this so she can have all the time she wants.

But I wonder, will she still be here when I'm done?

It is not as if I'm at work, putting her in daycare. But working from home has its own set of challenges, because the work is always here, always something I should be doing, should be getting done. I'm not smart enough to balance this; her heart-needs don't fit my schedule. They don't fit any schedule, stopping every ten steps to collect something that she values, something I roll my eyes at, because I just need to get to the end of the street and back so I can do what I need to do.

Last week, I worked non-stop, up early, up late, ignoring Piper as much as possible - and I didn't meet my deadline, because my baby-body is too tired. My eyes just quit working after a certain point; I couldn't stay awake. I don't know how I'm going to finish this month. I don't need any more interruptions.

But Piper's not simply an interruption. She's not even a break from my work. She's a treasure. I have to stop, pick her up, put her in my heart-pocket, even if I've only made it ten steps in.

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)


Glynn said...

Longer ago than I care to think, I took my then not-quite-2-year-old to the park. It was a cold Sunday morning in the late fall. My wife had gone to church with our oldest; the not-quite-2-year-old had a bad cold and so I stayed home with him.

Despite his cold, he ran all over the park. And then, in a grove of oak and pine trees, he found acorns and pine cones. Treasure! He spent an hour finding treasure; my pockets were crammed with trasure that he kept handing to me. We brought it all home in a bag I found in the car.

Oh, to see the world through the eyes of a child, a place where pine cones and acorns (and rocks and feathers) are treasure.

the Joneses said...

Excellent post, and one that all of us Busy Adults with children can identify with. My neighbor once bought Addie a wooden box with "Treasures" written on it because Addie was always collecting said trash... treasures, I mean... on our interminably long walks. I didn't much enjoy them, but I'm glad now I went. And I should go now more often than I do.

-- SJ

Jessica said...

This is a great reminder for me right now. Thanks for posting this!

Cassandra Frear said...

I can identify with your post. I remember feeling this way sometimes when my kids were young.

Maureen said...

My son is 21 now, so we don't have the same kind of treasure hunts any more. We find a different kind of treasure in the calls and e-mails we exchange.

We have two Westies. One does not move fast when a Westie's at the end of a leash. And really, I told my husband the other day, why should we? After all, our dogs do what dogs are meant to do on walks (I mean, besides their business): they stop, they sniff, they get still at the sight of a bird, they become excited at the scampering chipmunks, they pull onward in search of scents we don't have. We talk about having a dog's life and then try to rush them their walks? No, I find when Jack and Seamus stop, I can stop, too, to look up at the sky, and wonder.

kirsten michelle said...

Oh, how that last paragraph made me choke.

Danielle said...

"But Piper's not simply an interruption. She's not even a break from my work. She's a treasure."

So true! I remind myself of that almost everyday with my boys.

We went on a nature walk today too! We collected leaves.

Carrie said...

Oh, Kelly, I SO get where you are coming from with this post. I took Z to work with me up until August, working part-time most weeks, and almost full-time in the summer. It was fine while he was a baby, but when he got to be a toddler, his needs just did not mesh with the needs of concentrating on finances (or writing, I imagine, for you), or answering the phone. So I quit in August, in anticipation of the new baby arriving, and because of Z's needs. I don't know if quitting or cutting back is an option for you right now, maybe it's not, but it has been the single BEST parenting decision I've ever made - Z has grown leaps & bounds in every way imaginable since I've been able to stay home & focus on him all day. I pray that God will give you the time and energy you need to fulfill all your priorities!

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