when he tugged on the plant leaf in curiosity and tipped the ceramic planter onto the hard wood floor this morning, i almost broke his spirit along with that old planter. soil scattered wide and two pieces of ceramic. i looked at his eyes to see if he had recognized what had been done. with a harsh tone, i told him that he broke it. YAH he said half smiling, not knowing what else to say. i pressed hard to hold back any further words in my impatience. you see, he wasn’t supposed to be home with me today. today was an assigned daycare day. a break for mama to accomplish things. but he was feeling under the weather. so mama got a sidekick. the kind that fling food at mealtimes and cling close at cleaning time and beg to be a butterfly in the breeze, outside 24/7. already upset at the detour in plans, i found myself low on tolerating his toddler antics and the curiosity that cracked the house plant.
but i slowed down.
“s l o w i t d o w n” i internalized.
because when i pause, when i go half as fast, i notice twice as much.
and so i went to the sink to dump out the spilled soil. i looked closely at the broken pottery and reconsidered my plan to trash it as i fumbled through the junk drawer for crazy glue. below me i heard a “mama mama!” and when i glanced towards him, he showed me the children’s broom pan he had dug out of the bin we keep in reach just for them. he was proud, and i realized in that moment, i didn’t need to speak any harsh words. a reflex, does it do anyone a bit of good? we’re all just doing the best we know how, one damned step at a time. And that wisdom rings true, the wisdom to only speak words that make souls stronger: “When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger.“ Ephesians 4:29 (NCV).
his pride, his stance with his broom pan — it was the grace that swept me into a new realm. I knelt and smiled and praised and loved wild. We searched for the missing broom piece. and without any prompting, I saw him walk over to the mess and get down to business, scooping the dirt with the pan — the best he knew how. And I encouraged him wildly.