The other day I was driving home with my son and the clouds were the most incredible shade of pink. I mentioned them to him, just as I mention interesting trucks or trees and red lights and stop signs. “Wow, “ I said, “Just look at those beautiful clouds! Do you see them Charley? They are yellow and blue and pink, what a gorgeous sunset it is tonight.” He parroted me for a bit, repeating colors and pointing and then he replied,
“Yes Mama, I help you see them!”
I laughed, I knew what he meant. It got me thinking, what else does he help me see? Before kids I spent so many days traveling quickly to and fro. Rushing from work to home to a bar to a movie, never a moment to stop or breathe. And well, to be honest, I loved it. After I had my first son I longed for those busy days, babies were boring I thought. But now, with an active toddler, I am learning so much. He points things out I would have never looked at before. And each and every time he is excited, as if seeing it for the first time. Every truck we see is a new truck. Every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday when the garbage trucks come is a new and exciting day (they are his favorite). It will make me sad when the familiar noise of the truck backing down the street no longer excites him. Some days it is maddening, when I need to be doing something else and we do not have time to look at the trucks! But most of the time I slow down, way down, and we chat. We chat about the trucks and the drivers and where they might be going. Lately he has been afraid of every noise, so we talk about the noises too and what they might be. That’s a door, and that’s a car driving by and that’s the dog scratching her ears.
It reminds me of being in college for creative writing. We would have these funny exercises designed to ignite some creative thoughts. One was sitting in a circle, describing a sound 'from beginning to end', really being immersed in the moment. Then, those sounds were the whirr of the 'L' train and the tapping of another students foot. Now, they are mostly a baby crying or the dog barking. Perhaps being a mother has made me a better writer in that sense. I hear and see things better, stronger, slower; 'from beginning to end'.