It was a fairly typical January morning for my daughter and me, although I do remember she had been a little clingier than usual, as in, she couldn’t stand the few feet of distance that separated us while enjoying our breakfast smoothies. Instead, she preferred me to be holding her, and then when I finally convinced her I wasn’t going anywhere, she settled on touching my leg while I tried to do the dishes from the morning. She eventually decided she was ready to begin her day exploring, whether in our bathroom where she finds great enjoyment pulling things from small drawers, in her playroom, or in her bedroom, her curiosity is her only guide.
I was physically present, but my mind was all over the place about various important, urgent, and not-so-important details. At this point in the morning, unfortunately, and typically, too much of my attention was on my phone. The usual culprits? Adding an item or two to my ongoing to-do or grocery list in my notes section, responding to a text or two from my husband and mom, and scrolling Instagram. While I’m sipping my coffee and looking at my phone, I notice out of the corner of my eye, my daughter settled in front of her bookshelf and was happily pulling books off her bookshelf, saying “Elmo” each time she passed a Sesame Street book, which is often these days because Christmas was nearly sponsored by that glorious gang.
After a minute or two, the stream of Elmos become, “Siiiiiit?!” Her sweet toddler tone proud of her expanding vocabulary, yet also equal parts questioning and commanding. I glanced up quickly and thought to myself, ‘Is this the first time she’s said “Sit”?’ and as I’m debating whether or not it is, I notice her gently tapping her right hand on the glider in her room.
A simple invitation and gesture of mindfulness that I nearly missed because I was mindlessly chasing my own thoughts and daily to-dos. As I moved toward the glider, I felt a sense of gratitude that she brought me back to what was most needed this morning—a few intentional minutes together. As I sat down, she immediately placed a book in my lap then reached up for me. I smiled and exhaled. Yes, to sit here with you and read an Elmo book is one of the most important “yeses” I will give today. This moment deserved my full attention. I tried to take in this moment with all 5 senses—
I felt my daughter relax and snuggle on my lap then wiggle down when she was done reading.
I saw the rolls on her wrists and a pointer finger that told me which book she wanted to read first.
I heard her sweet exclamations and attempts to repeat words she recognized as we read together.
I tasted my coffee, cold on purpose because I love cold brew even in the winter.
I smelt my daughter’s ginger hair still so fresh from her bath the night before.
Thank you, my precious toddler, for bringing me back to the moment with your countless invitations to be present and for being such a patient teacher as I move in and out of these mindful moments throughout each day.