It’s amazing how the tiniest moments can have the biggest impacts on us. A recent trip to CC’s with my five year old did just that.
We were out running errands on a super cold day. I had been feeling under the weather and wanted a hot tea. At first, I reached for a cold chocolate milk out of the bin for Veronica but changed my mind. “How about hot chocolate today?” I asked her. It had been almost a year since I first gave her hot chocolate and she acted like I was trying to poison her. She seemed apprehensive but appeared to have forgotten the last incident, so she said okay.
We found our table and discussed how much of her cookie I was allowed to eat while we waited for our drinks. She was her usual five year-old self, so open and inquisitive with all of the sweetness of someone untouched by the harshness of the world. I was enjoying every minute.
I grabbed our drinks when they were ready and sat back down. Veronica reached for hers and commented on how the warm cup made her hands feel “cozy.” I watched as she hesitantly took the first sip of her hot chocolate. “It’s hot,” she said with a worried look on her face. I was bracing myself for a repeat of the last time, when I noticed her expression changing to a look of pure bliss.
With flushed cheeks and a sleepy smile, she said, “I feel so cozy. Does it go through my arms? Yes, it just went through my arms.” She took another sip. “Now it’s going through my legs. It’s so warm.” I was so caught up in watching her drink the hot chocolate that I hadn’t even taken a sip of my tea.
“Mama, are you going to drink yours?” Veronica asked. I said “of course” and took a sip. For the first time in years, I really noticed how it felt to drink a hot drink on a cold day. The way it soothed my sore throat and slowly warmed me from the inside out. Ha! And there it went, down my arms and legs.
“Do you feel cozy, Mama?” She asked. I told her that I had never felt so cozy in my life, and I meant it. I let myself taste and feel every sip of that tea as we discussed how warm our drinks were making us. That warmth carried me through another two hours of running errands in 36 degree weather. Even as I write this, I can still feel it.
As adults, we get so used to our surroundings and experiences that we often forget how wondrous the world can be. One of the best gifts our kids give us is perspective, but only if we really pay attention. If we had used the the drive-thru instead of sitting inside, I probably would have missed this moment. She would have tried to get my attention as I maneuvered through traffic, most likely only getting a distracted “mhmm” from me in return. I never would have experienced those rosy cheeks or that sweet smile, not to mention my own feeling of warmth from my drink.
We give so much, sometimes everything, to our kids without expecting anything in return. But, they can give us so much too, if we let them. Listen to them when they tell you that you’re the best mama ever, and let their truth be your own. Sit with them when they ask you and let their snuggle calm your mind. Pay attention when they try new things and let their reaction remind you of how it felt your first time.
These gifts are so fleeting. Don’t let them pass you by.