This past weekend was Labor Day, which meant we were able to take a road trip back to Illinois, where all of our family lives. Let me tell you, a 12 hour drive with a 10 month old is not something I want to do every weekend! But, I am glad we were able to spend some time with family.
We took Becca back to the city where we met, where we went to school, and where many of my favorite memories were made. My husband and I had our first date here, it’s where he proposed, and it’s where we had our first home together. We spent almost 10 years of our lives in this city, so, naturally, a flood of emotions come back when we visit. It was great to take a trip down memory lane, but this time with our daughter in tow.
As we were driving by our first house (honestly, to see if it was still standing), I asked my husband if he ever thought we would be coming back to this place with our child. It’s something you can dream about before you have kids, but once you get to actually bring them back with you, it’s surreal. You experience a flood of memories, but it truly seems like it was from another life. At one point, I called this place “home.” But, now, I consider my home to be wherever my husband and daughter are. A place is just…a place. Home is wherever you are with your family.
I took a weekend break from the Internet to just be in the moment with my loved ones. This is something that is often discussed among my group of blogger friends: how do you find balance between getting work done and being present in the moment with your children? It’s not easy. And, there is no perfect balance- they will both always be demanding more of your time, and there is only so much time in a day.
But, spending the weekend “unplugged” from social media and the Internet in general, I was able to really reflect on the value of spending time with family. I realized how much my baby is growing up every single day and how much there is to learn from her.
Have you ever just really watched your child? Their mannerisms around other people, the way they play, their habits throughout the day? If we take a moment to just observe and interact with our babies, we can learn so much from them.
Here are some lessons my 10 month old taught me this past weekend:
We pulled over to play at a park during the long drive home. I was giving Becca a fruit cup snack when this bee flew over and landed on her finger. I didn’t notice it at first, but I saw her smiling and really studying her finger before slowly starting to put it towards her open mouth. Once I realized what what was happening, I quickly grabbed her hand and blew the bee off of her. I honestly don’t remember what it was like to be so unafraid of things. This world is good at making you fear, but that hasn’t touched her yet.
One thing about babies is that they will you keep you on your feet. They don’t sit still too often and are usually always on the go. As we become older, we lose that motivation to be moving. Maybe technology is to blame, because why get off the couch if you can binge watch Netflix 24/7? But, babies are as close to nature as you can get, and obviously our bodies want to be active. Exercise is good for our minds, our bodies, and our overall health. So, our babies are telling us to get moving!
I’ve never seen a baby who will look at a person of another ethnicity, religion, gender, or age, and say, “Nope, I don’t like that person.” It’s because babies see people for people. They do not discriminate or hold prejudices. I watched my baby this weekend interacting with all kinds of people, and she loved them all. She didn’t steer clear of one person because they were different than her. She showed love and kindness to them in the ways she knows how. And, our world could certainly use a lesson in that. She doesn’t gossip, judge, fear or bully. She just gives hugs. And, they’re the best hugs ever!
Babies don’t eat just to be eating. They eat when they’re hungry, and when they aren’t hungry anymore, they stop. Same goes for sleeping. They do not sleep because they are bored, or stay up past their bedtime and sleep in just because. When they are tired, they sleep. When they wake up, they are ready to go. That’s the way God made us. To eat for nourishment and sleep for rejuvenation. Not as activities to over-indulge in or just for something to do. Babies teach us to listen more to our own bodies. And, maybe if we did, we would have just as much energy as they do!
I love watching Becca’s face light up over the smallest of things. Like swinging at the park, the band playing music at the football game, or just looking through pictures in a book. Sometimes in life we get to the point where we are always looking for the next best thing. If we could just be more like babies, and see everything again for the first time, we would probably be amazed by just how awesome the simple things in life are. I know I take many things for granted that I shouldn’t, but my sweet little girl reminds me every single day that there is something amazing to be seen in everything. And, that makes me slow down and appreciate things a bit more.
Since becoming a parent, I have learned that a lot of my patience has been lost along the way in life. When you’re with a baby, there is no rushing around. They live at a slower rate. From eating a meal to getting around to exploring their surroundings. They take their time. The world teaches us to be rushed. Fast food restaurants, instant downloads, next-day shipping- we want everything now. And, then we want to move on to the next thing. I love sitting down with Becca during a meal and watching how she slowly picks up one piece of food at at time and eats it. I typically get her started on a meal well before my husband and I sit down because I know we will be done much faster than she will. She will often still be munching by the time we have eaten, put everything away, and loaded the dishwasher. Sometimes, I have to force myself to stop, sit down, and just be in the moment with her as she is enjoying all these new experiences. Life moves much too fast anyway, so why not take some time to slow it down as often as we have a chance to?
What have your babies taught you so far about your own life? What do you do to live more in the moment?