Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Tree Huggers

Getting three small children out of the car in a busy parking lot is always a logistical exercise.  My oldest is great about staying close to me but my three year old lives in his own mind.  He will wander away to look at a bird or check out a drain if I look away for even a moment.  I usually will slide open his door so he doesn't suffocate in the Florida heat then ask him to wait in the car while I get the baby in her stroller/baby carrier/sling/hip.  Yesterday he decided against my plan.

I was unbuckling my daughter when I looked up and realized he was out of the car.  I ran to the other side and found him bent down analyzing the paint on the parking lot.  "Buddy, you have to listen to Mommy and wait in the car.  This is a very busy parking lot.  Come and wait over here by your brother."  I walked him over to the other side of the car where he could safely wait in a mulched area and got back to unbuckling.  When I was ready to head into the store, my oldest got distracted by a small tree.

"Why are there ropes on this tree?" my oldest asked.

"Because it's a baby tree.  A sapling.  They moved it here and tethered it until it's roots are strong enough to hold it up."  I tried to stop worrying about getting to their class in time and stay in this moment. I said a quick prayer to help me enjoy their curiosity then refocused on their words. 

"Awwww!  It's a baby!  Look how cute!" my three year old was saying.

"I can't believe it's a baby tree!  Let's see if it' snuggly like our baby!" my oldest said to his brother.  

They proceeded to wrap their arms around the trunk of the live oak until they both fell backward laughing.  "That baby is NOT snuggly at all!  Cute, but not snuggly!" my oldest boomed through a fit of giggles.  My three year old grabbed his belly and doubled over laughing. 

"You guys are so silly, " I said as I grabbed their little hands and headed into the library.

As I walked, I thought about how sweet these guys are.  They delight in their baby sister and have since fallen in love with all baby things.  They have such tender and kind hearts.  Yes, their minds are always wandering to birds and trees and paint on asphalt instead of getting to their classes on time but in the end, what is more important?  I certainly subscribe to the philosophy that this world is ours (and theirs!) to discover.  Who am I to stand in the way of that?  

Does your childrens' curiosity ever get in the way of your objectives?  How can you embrace their creativity instead of your agenda?

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