When I was 13, I couldn’t wait to get braces, eyeglasses (??!!), and wear makeup. These days, I use minimal makeup to hide the fine lines, reluctantly use reading glasses, and have a beauty regimen that includes everything from cupping and dermaplaning to Gua Sha and Microcurrent skin toning devices!
Can you relate? It’s as if you spend the first few decades of your life wanting so desperately to be a grown-up… and the rest of your life trying to reverse the clock. It can be a bit exhausting.
But you know what I have found to be an even better youth potion than collagen supplements and Botox??? It’s super simple, very effective, and has been known to have minimal side effects…
STEP INTO THE MAGIC, WONDER, AND FUN OF YOUR 8-YEAR-OLD SELF!
Now, I am all about emotional maturity when it matters, but sometimes don’t you just take life too darn seriously? I mean maybe it’s time to just get over yourself! (I say that in the most compassionate way mind you!)
I was inspired to write this blog because after a weekend with SEVEN kids ranging in age from 5-12, I was reminded of the power of just living… in the moment.
I live in downtown Milwaukee and am fortunate to have three of my cousins within minutes of me. So, after my Mother’s Day mini pity party I reached out and offered them the opportunity for a date night while I planned a sleepover pizza party along with fun at the beer garden across the street… minus the beer.
As they all arrived it was, as expected, total chaos. I live in a condo building so there were a few terrifying moments of panic as some of them took off on a self-guided tour… needless to say, my neighbors heard a different side of me yelling down the halls “I am VERY upset right now! WHERE IS YOUR BROTHER?!”
Yet I was reminded over those two days often of the power and the magic of seeing the world (aka “the perfect in the imperfect”) through the innocent eyes of a child.
For example, each summer, Sprecher Brewery, has a traveling beer garden that rotates through many of the Milwaukee city parks. Fortunately, one of them is right across my street! So for two weeks each summer, there are bands and of course the beer, pretzels, and who can forget the cheese curds literally in my front yard.
On a typical Friday night, people are sprawled throughout the park having picnics, reading, people watching, and dancing. You see a lot of dogs, a lot of smiles…it’s just really one of those beautiful moments where people are relishing the moment and enjoying simple pleasures.
So in my head, I had pictured the “perfect” evening with the kids. My friend Kathy popped over with her 5-year-old daughter and off we went.
As we walked across the street, anticipating the usual scene, my friend Kathy and I bursted out laughing. Normally, like I said, there’s a huge crowd of people… but on this night, there were literally six people and the band was one woman with a guitar.
When the agenda doesn’t go as planned, simply repeat this mantra… “NO BIG DEAL.”
There’s this thing called Mother Nature. On this specific Friday, it was about 46 degrees…in June. Fortunately, the rain had stopped so we decided to stay for a bit because clearly, the kids didn’t care that the place was empty and the woman singing was a bit less than enthusiastic…so why should we?
And guess what?? We had a blast.
Leave it to kids. They immediately found plenty to do and pretty soon we discovered we had our own private concert for the night as the woman played requests like “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen” just for us. What a perfectly appropriate song for the evening. 🙂
I think so often, the weather is something we like to talk about because it’s a common thread… I mean we all experience the same weather within our community so it’s a connector. Trying to control it, however, is pointless! Remember that idea of staying in your lane and not worrying about what other people are doing? The weather is not included in your lane. It’s in the lane of God/Divine/Universe.
Did you love it when it snowed when you were a kid? What about when it rained? Wasn’t it fun splashing through puddles? If it was cloudy or humid did that prevent you from playing outside?
Within the rain, wind, and yes, the cold, there is divine perfection.
Don’t let the weather stop you from living.
So many lessons that weekend from the munchkins! Here are a few more…
The next morning one of the little guys had to complete a mile walk for his Cub Scout program. As we walked along Lake Michigan, they stopped to skip rocks. I found myself saying “let’s go! Hurry up!” I felt this sense of anxiety coming over me with keeping track of each of them as they darted like mice as well as needing to be back at the condo at a specific time for their pickups.
All of a sudden I stopped and said to myself, “hold on Meg and wait a minute here. The four boys are in a state of joy skipping rocks…the two girls (with of course my dog Birdie) are just walking slowly hand in hand. Why don’t you just stop, sit down at a picnic table, soak in this moment, and watch those pebbles skip on the water?”
So, I did. I chose to be present.
As the girls and I sat there, my anxiety about the time and “hurrying up” calmed down. I was able to notice how proud the boys were as they skipped the pebbles and we’d clap.
Now, this may sound dramatic or corny… but I don’t care:
In that moment, I felt like I was living. I mean really living. So simple but it was a snapshot in time that even now as I write, this stirred emotions in me. I was totally present with the kids, the breeze, the view, the laughter, the sun’s warmth, the sound of the birds and the beauty of the ripples in the water as they skipped those stones. I mean, seriously, a rock that skips 4 or 5 times? That’s a miracle. That’s magic.
And yes, it’s reaching that mile mark to check it off your list so you can get the Cub Scouts medal. And yes, it’s important to be on time. But sometimes don’t you think you create unneeded stress within moments of peace?
Enjoy the journey to the goal.
If you can’t enjoy the ride, is the destination really worth it?
One more lesson of the weekend came as we were heading back, and they were collecting rocks. So many rocks. In my jacket. Like, A LOT of rocks.
My jacket was weighed down with so many rocks I must say I got a bit of a workout. As we reached the end of our morning adventure, the littlest one looked at me with her sweet little voice and said “Meg look! I found the most beautiful rock of all!” As I looked down, I’m pretty sure what she was showing me was part of asphalt with a bit of plastic reflector material in it! To her, however, it was a magical rock.
After everyone left and I cleaned up the dishes, made the beds, and done everything that you mothers do every single day, I finally sat down for the first time in two days. As I sat in silence, I looked at the table and I realized she had left me her rock. For a moment, I laughed and thought it didn’t belong in my beautiful glass dish with the other smooth and spa-like Lake Michigan rocks in the calm colors of blue, grey, and green…this was a chunk of someone’s driveway. But then the final lesson poured over me and I realized that this WAS the perfect rock. It was perfect because it was the representation of finding the beauty in the imperfect… all through the pure eyes of a child.
And as it should be, that little piece of tar holds the “king of the hill” spot on top of the other rocks.
Always choose to see the beauty within yourself and others.
So, a big thank you to the children in this world for reminding me to hold on to the wonder and preciousness of my 8-year-old self. I hope you do too.
See you next week,