One great joy of life with a toddler is that they still enjoy holding your hand while walking together. On a recent day off I was walking with my son in the park near our house. Suddenly I realized that I was sort of pulling him along behind me. Years of training and busy clinic days have turned me into a fast walker and have taught me to live life at a somewhat frenetic pace. But, on this day we really had no place to be. I made a conscious effort to allow him to lead. It felt slow as molasses at first, but gradually I adapted. My fast, purposeful walk turned into his slow, meandering pace.
Suddenly, we were seeing earthworms and jumping in puddles, remnants of recent storms. He found a pile of leaves and enjoyed running through them again and again. My mind relaxed and became quiet. I focused on him and his joy.
Since that day I’ve tried to be mindful of allowing my son to set the pace of our life more often. He is young and adventurous. He finds and notices things that my busy mind glosses over. And, I see the joy he gets from leading me around once in a while, instead of vice versa.
This time will not last forever- our days may soon be filled with parent-teacher conferences and various activities, in addition to the already full career demands that my husband and I have taken on. But, for now, his time is his. And slowing the pace is good for both of us.