This may not be the most obvious bit of Unexpected Health insight that I have ever written. There may be no new revelations in today except for my own. I imagine that for all you parents reading this, I am not telling you something you don’t already know. But today, while spending some auntie-niece time in the Open Space with me, Kendra Lee (my niece), and Lucca (you undoubtedly know her by know), I discovered some new–at least for me–Unexpected Health that is born in children.
Children are healthy for us wound-up adults for many reasons: kids keep us grounded; children force us to grow up and be adults; youngsters encourage us to change family dynamics so that negative patterns of the past are hopefully NOT repeated. But the Unexpected Health that children gift our lives with is actually found imprinted…in their steps.
Let’s face it, children walk slow. You’ve all seen this visual: a hurried parent nearly dragging their child behind them because the poor kid can’t keep up with an adult pace. Kids literally can’t keep up. I’ve noticed that we make children speed up: we sign them up for any and every sports league possible; we’ve harnessed our children with leashes so we don’t lose them (seems easier to “lead” them with these contraptions too); we plop them in baby joggers and push them along during our runs. I’m not saying sports leagues and baby joggers are a bad thing (notice I left out the leash), but today, I found that when we actually slow down–to a child’s pace–we catch a glimmer of so much more…and seeing the beauty (and health) in the small things is healthy.
On our muddy excursion outdoors, my niece pointed out every (and I am not exaggerating here!) hole in the vast earth of the Open Space. She would floppily run with her little pink mud boots, stop and gasp as if she had just found buried treasure, and shriek out that she had found another hole. I have never, in probably all my life, noticed these little squirrel holes, and I have walked, hiked, and ran in that space for years. Later, we actually picked wildflowers. Who does that anymore? Then, we rubbed our hands through the mud and then used the wet blades of grass as Wet Naps to clean them. How often do we allow ourselves–or even our kids–to have such unadulterated, seemingly “unsanitary” fun?
Kids are so incredibly innocent. Adults are so easily hardened. When I think about what kind of mom I want to be (which I did today), I realized that although I want to teach my children morals, beliefs, and a good sense of self, I want to be sure and soak up what my children will undoubtedly teach me. To stop and notice the details, to pick wildflowers and give them to loved ones (just like Kendra made sure to pick flowers for me, herself AND Lucca, of course); and to experience the earth with wild curiosity. As we grow ‘in,’ may we become more like the innocent children we once were. -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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