My 12-year old son is nothing like me. He is happy-go-lucky, and moves at his own pace. I am overwrought and always rushing around. And schedules? Time is a relative concept to him. He takes time to notice everything, while I pride myself on multi-tasking and tackling the 40 plus reminders on my to-do list. I may be older, but he is teaching me things. He is in the moment, much like my Cocker Spaniel.
I don’t think these differences are only because he is an extrovert and I am an introvert, because he is a kid and I’m an adult, or even because he is part of self-aware and open-minded Generation Z. I am not sure why they exist, but the best thing about them is that he makes me appreciate the little things in life and laugh – every day.
When I stress out around 6pm, thinking I should be straightening up around the house, he says “The floors can wait, Mom. You worked all day. Come sit down with me and watch a ‘Seinfeld!’” He’s right of course; it’s not like I’m having a home inspection or party guests any time soon. So I often stop, and sit with him.
His encouragement reminds me to take time to stay healthy. When I close my laptop, exhausted, and force myself to exercise, he is proud of me. Nothing escapes him. When we ran into a recently divorced neighborhood dad at Starbucks, who was suddenly looking fit, my son sized him up, leaned in as he walked away, and said “I think the weight before was stress-related.”
“Apparently, there’s a rainbow” he said excitedly, as I rushed him to the car for appointment. A hard, sudden rainstorm had come and gone quickly. It was early evening and I was freaking out about getting back to finish a work project. Looking for a rainbow was the last thing on my mind.
But I heard him, it hit me, and I stopped. Of course I can take a minute to look at a rainbow, I thought. Life should not be so stressful, a daily to-do list so distracting, that I wouldn’t. I forget that, though.
We saw it through the Oak trees. It was a double rainbow! I had never seen one before. Flashbacks of eleven-year-old me - drawing rainbows for the school newspaper popped into my head. Memories of trading rainbow stickers with friends... I think I even had a satin rainbow pillow on my bed. (Didn’t every girl growing up in the late seventies/early eighties?) How could I not stop for a rainbow now?
Realistically, I will never be one of those happy-go-lucky people. I don’t necessarily want to slow down too much - and still don’t really know how. But I can move a little more that way, and always, always, watch for a rainbow after the rain.
Happy "National Find a Rainbow Day."