Beauty in the Ordinary Interactions of Life with a Toddler
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On Fridays, I typically recap some major event or milestone of the past week. And this week, I am left a bit stumped with even the words to say. Nothing major or noteworthy has happened, well at least not in my narrow-earthly focused mind. From God’s perspective, quite a lot has been going on, but I can be so distracted, it is easy for me to write it off.
Upon deeper reflection, the common thread of this past week that has really struck a cord has been the small, ordinary interactions of our week.
There are a million reasons why I am thankful to be Hudson’s mom, but one of them is the experiences and conversations and things I notice that I never would have seen prior to motherhood. Similarly to when you get a dog, you discover a whole new world of what it means to be a dog owner. You meet people and have conversations about strange things that typically you never would have had the opportunity to experience.
Same thing is true when you have a kid. Your eyes open up to thousands of beautiful, little things that happen every day that you had no idea was even going on. Let me explain.
Hudson has taught me to be more friendly and more forward when it comes to making friends. My introverted self tends to stay away from a lot of interactions with strangers. Hudson is changing all of that. Everyone is a friend (especially if they have a ball and snacks) in his mind. This past week at our different park outings, we made new friends with the boy who brought the baseball tee, with the brother and sister that brought two soccer balls, and the cool guys playing basketball that called Hudson “bud.” These interactions were sweet and in each of them I saw kindness, generosity, and connection.
Beyond these random park interactions, I also am feeling thankful for the deeper friendships and relationships that happen on a daily basis. It has been a recent joy of mine to see Hudson begin to form real friendships with some of the boys in our mommy and me class. There is nothing quite as sweet as hearing him say his friend’s name “john-nee” when we ask him who his friends are.
Along with friendships Hudson is making, I also am thankful for new mom friendships that are forming. One of the biggest things I miss about work is lunches with my other teacher friends. Now, lunches are mostly eaten with just the two of us. I really have missed my lunchtime full of chatting and connection. This past Tuesday, after class, a group of us picnicked with all the kiddos. We shared food, we chased kids from running into the duck pond, and we laughed together as Hudson sat in a mud puddle. Not quite the same as work lunches, but this picnic lunch with friends, and muddy kids, and real conversations with other moms really filled me up. This was yet another moment of connection so different from life pre-H, but also so full and fun.
Hudson has also opened up my eyes to people that are doing really amazing work. We have come to know the street cleaner driver that drives every Wednesday on my parent’s street. I don’t know his name or his life, but every Wednesday he stops at the corner with a big smile and puts on a “show” for Hudson. He runs the bristles, turns on the vacuum, and splashes water. He drives the street cleaner with such joy. We look forward to his visit every week. And it is not just Hudson. My mom and Hudson were at the park when the street cleaner driver drove by. He did the same “show” with a great, big smile to an audience of excited toddlers. I was still finishing my workout when this all happened, but I can picture it so well because I have seen the way he does his job on a weekly basis. It really has impacted me. He weekly inspires me as a literal driving picture of what it looks like to work with joy and love. He does much more than clean the streets; he brings joy to toddlers who see him as a hero!
I could continue. I could write about the nice new librarian, Genevieve. I could write about the way all the librarians have come to know us and scavenge the shelves looking for books about dinosaurs and baseballs. Quick side-note: if you have a toddler obsessed with those two things, you have to check out or get a copy of Dino-Baseball. We have read it over ten times in the course of a couple days. Anyways, I could write about this and the story-time we had this morning. I could write about marching around the library singing “we are dinosaurs, marching, marching.” I could, but to keep things more precise, let’s end here.
The fact is, this week was not the most exciting. There was no big, exciting happening. It was ordinary. And in the ordinary, it was quite difficult. There were lots of moments of disobedience. Moments of jumping into mud puddles, of literally falling out of the crib, of running to the ocean for the one-millionth time without a fear in the world. There was a whole lot of screaming and tantrums in the backseat. There were many lunches left uneaten: food thrown and milk everywhere. This was not an easy week. But it was good. It was good because of all those small, ordinary and beautiful interactions I described above and for that I end the week with gratitude.
Also, Hudson was just scootering outside and he picked a purple flower for “mama” and that basically melted away all the hard moments in an instant. Heart is melting.