We weren’t exactly running late, just later than I had wanted. Even though it was only day three of the new school year, I found myself rushing.
The streets bordering the school were surprisingly quiet, and I parked easily. Into park went the gearshift, off went the engine and out the door I charged, a little irked that Daughter hadn’t done the same by the time I walked around to her side of the car.
She was still fussing with her backpack, loading, zipping, checking.
I took a breath and waited, willing her to hop out without any “let’s get going” comments from me. Luckily, Patient Mommy had joined our party this morning, and encouraged me to keep my thoughts to myself.
Daughter took a handful of minutes in the car (maybe just one minute, truthfully) before she tossed her backpack over her shoulder, got out of the car. I quickly closed the door and started with the Late-Mommy march toward the crosswalk, expecting Daughter to keep up.
Instead, she took just two tiny steps before she gasped and stopped suddenly in front of the giant pepper tree which we have walked passed countless times.
“Mom!!” she called out excitedly, “look at how beautiful the morning dew is on these leaves!”
Are you kidding me? Morning dew?? I stopped. And huffed. And really wanted to holler back can we please get going I have a meeting that I’m trying to make and Patient Mommy who was so tolerant by the car door is gone.
But Patient Mommy wasn’t really gone, and she nudged my shoulder, suggested that I take another breath and walk back to the tree. After all, it was just two tiny steps from the car. Patient Mommy pointed out that it really wouldn’t take that much extra time to see what Daughter thought was so marvelous now, would it? And also noted that we still weren’t late, just later than I had wanted to be.
This is Daughter’s last year in elementary school, the same school to which I have delivered my kids for the past 14 years, often parking in this same spot next to this very tree. And on this day, one of my elementary school kids of days-gone-by was in his second week of classes in his second year at university (Older Son), and also on this day Younger Son drove himself off to his first day of his high school senior year. The morning of their childhoods having long since passed.
Soon enough it won’t be Daughter’s 5th grade year but her senior year, and she won’t give a passing glance to dewdrops on pepper tree leaves. Maybe she won’t even notice, being pre-occupied with the worries and expectations which fill a teenager’s mind. Maybe she’ll march right by and miss the chance to be awestruck by something as simple as a drop of water. But I hope not.
The wonder and marvel with which a child sees the world is fleeting. One of the great joys for me, as a mom, has been to see this world — in its ordinary beauty — from their innocent point of view. Especially when I allow myself to stop, look around, breathe, and to really see what they do.
Daughter was right, the dew on the leaves was beautiful. Drop after drop was suspended on tiny little buds, capturing the bright morning sunlight and just seconds away from dripping to the ground, or evaporating, or whatever dewdrops do when they inevitably disappear. And it only took a few moments to worship at this tiny altar offered up by nature, together.
I even suggested we take a picture so Daughter could always remember.
But mostly, I took that picture so that I could be reminded in years to come, that once there was a little girl who found magic in just a few droplets of water.
Daughter and the pepper tree, 2013
Tagged September 16, 2016 in response to The Daily Post’s one word prompt: Fragile.