As we begin the new year and new semester (for students, parents, and teachers) and the pace rivals the fast and furious Indy 500, perspective is one thing that can add peace and more joy to this time of year. As I look at this week’s schedule, and there is an event every single night and copious amounts of paperwork to be completed and checks that need to be written, perspective makes me stay on track and happy. I can ask myself, “are there any of these events that I am willing to miss?” If the answer is a resounding no, then the “must do’s” feel less like an obligation and more like a choice. The joy can trickle back into your heart and let the stress pour out.
When my middle son Timmy was graduating from high school, there were awards ceremonies, a play, preparation for final exams, and his 18th birthday. I wouldn’t want to miss any of it for the world. There was dashing around for tuxedo fittings and corsage ordering. But rather than feel overwhelmed, I thought back to my proms and how much fun they were and how excited we were to be making the plans and feeling all grown up. I want the same types of memories for him and I didn’t want my feeling busy to get in the way. It is, after all, about them. We’re just here to facilitate.
One of the best lessons in perspective was taught to me by my eldest son Mark when he was about three years old. I had Mark and Timmy in the double stroller, and we were walking to the playground. Along the way, Mark kept reaching out of the stroller to pick mature dandelions. I was focused on ARRIVING at the playground and was getting frustrated with his wanting to stop every five feet to pick another weed. Finally, I asked him, “Mark, don’t you want to get to the playground so we can play?” Mark, my little philosopher, answered, “Yes, Mommy. But look at all these wishes!!” Wishes? “Yes, Mommy. Remember you said if you pick them and blow, you can make a wish.” Of course, I think most adults have taught a child this or tried it themselves as children. If you blow on a mature dandelion, it releases the little puffs out into the air which is fascinating to kids. “We’re missing all the wishes Mommy!”
Mark was right. In my determination to get to the playground, the end destination, I was missing the joy of the journey. Dandelions must have played a big part in young Mark’s mind. Another time, we arrived at a park covered in mature dandelions. While some adults would see a sea of weeds, Mark exuberantly exclaimed, “Wishes!!!!” Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Keep your eyes open!!
So, whether you might be celebrating a nursery school or 5th grade or PhD graduation with your children soon, let’s try not to just focus on the end game and what is next. Let’s give credit to the importance of slowing down on the journey and seeing each step, all the color, all the smells, the victories and losses, the questions and the wonder. Let’s not miss the wishes along the way because we were focused on the paperwork. Close your eyes. Blow on a dandelion. Make a wish. Anything magical and wonderful can happen if you take your time and stay present in the moment. Don’t miss the wishes.