It was just a regular day. I arrived at my son's school and walked into the gym with all the other parents. We all stood around waiting for our children to come barreling into the gym, ready to go home. The other parents looked just as worn out by the day as I was. Conversations filtered around me, as they chatted with each other about the challenges they were each facing. There was a tired resignation in the air. But when our kids were herded in by their teachers, I saw something that made a smile bloom in my heart.
One of the kids saw his mom, and broke away from the line and ran towards her. She saw him enthusiastically head her away, and a lightness suddenly lifted her expression. She opened her arms so he could run straight into them. As they hugged, another child spotted her parent, and ran forward in greeting. That parent set her complaints of a moment ago aside and put a smile on for her child. One by one, each parent and kid were reunited, and I saw each parent drop their worries, at least momentarily, and be in the moment with their child, enjoying a happy reunion.
I know that their hardships, their stresses, their exhaustion didn't just magically disappear. All those things were still lurking, following them out the door and trailing them home. At some point, they had to be picked up again and dealt with. The parents at my son's school were not ignoring their troubles or living in denial in some fantasy world where life is perfect. They were simply choosing to focus on something more positive, and take a moment to recognize their child's joy, rather than be blinded by their struggles.
It is easy to put off doing this. It is easier to stay in your own head, and wait to be present until everything around you is peaceful. The trouble is, your world will never be peaceful as long as you refuse to set down your struggles. You see the beauty in it when you decide to look for it. It takes effort, and conscious choice, to take a deep breath, open your arms, and be there for your child, your spouse, your friend. Your life. I know this, because I have a tendency to be cranky with my life if it isn't exactly the way I want it. In those instances, I don't want to embrace my life. I want to be aware of the problems, so I can fix them and create a reality I like better. At the very least, I want to know who to blame! But when I do that, I miss the moments. I am too busy being unhappy to see the happy, smiling child running full tilt toward me, which ironically is the very thing that makes me happy.
So, thank you to the parents in the school pick-up line. Thank you for demonstrating for me the beauty in simply choosing to focus on the special moment in front of you. Luckily, I get to see it daily, which is good because I need frequent reminders.
I am so glad you are here! Welcome to my blog. This is your space, too. My name is Amy, and I am no stranger to the ups and downs of life. Join me as we search for beauty, authenticity, tell our truth, and hold space for each other in the messiness of life.