It was a cold day and I was walking through a field with my youngest daughter. The wind was blowing, shoving everything around. My daughter looked up at me, grabbed my face and said, “Mommy stop, look the flowers are dancing!” Before I could correct her, she continued, “Mommy, the wind is helping the flowers dance!”
I stopped walking, and looked around. She was right; the flowers were dancing! I had never seen that before. In my mind the flowers were always being shoved around whenever the wind was blowing. I couldn’t believe that I was going to “teach” her that the wind was blowing and that the flowers were not dancing.
As a parent I can get so caught up in my role, always trying to teach my kids how things work, right from wrong, and the “facts of life.” That I forget how much my kids can teach me!
I am so grateful that my daughter made me stop, and invited me to see the world through her eyes. She has such a beautiful way of seeing things. I am trying to change the way I parent from “what I have to teach,” to “what we can learn together.” To think that I might have gone the rest of my life watching the flowers be shoved around by the wind, instead of seeing the wind as something that gave the flowers the ability to dance saddens my heart.
As an adult it’s so easy to see the negative side of things when we are facing hardship. We can become so overwhelmed by our “to do lists,” seeing it as all the things we HAVE to get done, and be burdened down by the end of the day when there is still so much “to do” left on our list. We climb into bed exhausted, feeling behind, wishing there was more time in the day.
I am certain if there were more time in the day, I would just make my list longer, and still climb into bed feeling like a failure because I didn’t get it all done. If we can change our mindset from “to do,” to what we “get to do,” maybe then we wont climb into bed feeling bad about what we didn’t “get to do,” and feel happy about what we did “get to do.” Maybe the list would stop pushing us around, and just maybe it could be the very thing giving us the ability to dance.
There have been many times that my girls have said “Mommy come play with us!” And I’ve told them I can’t because I have to do the dishes. I am constantly making them wait ‘til I’m done with some chore. I do these chores because I want to take care of my family, but I have made the mistake of letting the chores come first, my priorities are out of whack at times!
When I do this, my actions say that the dirty plates, cups, bowls, and silverware are more important than you right now. I need to be okay with a sink filled with dirty dishes, and say “Yes, what I’m doing right now is necessary, but you are more important, and the dishes can wait!” Then when I wake up the next morning to a stack of dishes I can feel proud, I can feel happy because the dirty dishes exist because my family was fed, and they remain because I spent quality time with my daughters. In doing this I’ve changed a chore undone into a meaningful accomplishment.
It is important to remain balanced in this though. We cannot ignore all our responsibilities. Things do have to get done. I am only suggesting that we examine what is most important and why. Are we beating ourselves up when our house is a mess? Or are we going to bed feeling like failures when we don’t accomplish all of our goals for a day? How can we rest when we feel overwhelmed and behind?
I want my list to reflect how I feel about my priorities, and my roles as mom, wife, and Kami. I don’t want my list to control how I feel. My list does not get to decide who I am, what my value is, or my dedication to my family. I make my list, and if something doesn’t get checked off it, it’s not because “I’m a failure,” it’s because something else mattered more.
I like the thought of dancing through our days because, one really has to let go and be free in order to dance. We can’t worry about what others are thinking of us while we’re dancing. We can’t plan our every step, we have to listen to the music and just let our bodies move. Dancing is fun, it’s freeing. You can dance the dance however you like!
I am not the most comfortable dancing in front of people, and if you’re the same, you might be thinking, “No thank you! Dancing is not freeing or fun, it’s frightening!” But I’m not talking about the dancing done in ballrooms or bars. I’m talking about the dances we dance in the shower while singing into our bars of soap. The dances we dance when we are cooking dinner, or cleaning the house, you know the dance we dance when no one is watching. That is the dance I’m talking about, and if you’re thinking, “What? Who dances around their house like a crazy person!” then yea, I’ve never done that either! (But if you have, then you know that “free to let it rip!” spirit you get when you’ve got the place to yourself!) I want my “to do list,” to become that, “Let it rip, you’ve got the place to yourself!” soft breeze that whispers, “May I have this dance?”
Our lists do not make us; we make them. What we get done or don’t get done, does not make us doers or don’ters, it makes us dancers. The next time your day feels like a rush of winds shoving you around may you dance like the flowers in the field.