On Mondays I bring my toddler along to work with me; she attends my music class for one year olds, and then I drop her off at the on-site childcare facility while I teach for another hour. She has some snacks, gets a little social interaction and some novel toy playtime…it works out well.

Each week, I endeavor to set a new personal best time for getting out of the recreation center quickly. Pack up instruments, retrieve Sophie from childcare, use the bathroom, change diaper, nurse if necessary, and haul ass out to the parking lot. She will inevitably fall asleep on the car ride home, and when we arrive, I begin the precarious dance of attempting to transfer her to her crib.

Today I decided to do something different. I packed up with my usual speed and efficiency, arrived at the childcare room in record time, paid for Sophie’s hour visit, and proceeded to walk towards the restroom.

Then I stopped.

Sophie was in such a fantastic mood, toddling around with her bag of dried apples, I decided to do something out of the ordinary. I followed her.

A one year old’s world is amazing

It took about ten minutes to get outside. Usually I pick her up and walk briskly across the courtyard, passing the fountain and grassy areas, and re-enter the building where my classroom is located, eager to grab my cart full of instruments and head home.

I don’t know why, but today I decided to slow down. Sophie waddled happily through the hallway, peering in windows at the middle aged ladies toiling in the fitness center, waving goodbye to the childcare room workers, gazing out at the open field below us. I resisted the urge to scoop her up, and followed obligingly behind her, helping her grab another apple chip when she asked for more.

Once outside, I surveyed the empty courtyard. The rec center itself sits atop a hill, and when I remember to slow down and actually look around, I am always struck with an awareness that the sky seems much more expansive here than anywhere else. The view of the mountains, today shimmering with snow, is breathtaking.

It was about 45 degrees and sunny, and the perfectly crisp air seemed to peel off a layer of sluggishness. I felt invigorated by the space and paused to stare up at the vast cloudless sky. Sophie was in her element, wobbling back and forth, her soft soled shoes slapping the brick walkway. She took her time exploring the stone steps of the fountain, haphazardly stuffing another bite of snack into her mouth.

I noticed the heavy sensation of my own shoes against the earth, and breathed in the sensation of being rooted to the ground, attempting to absorb some energy and balance traveling from the terrain up through my limbs.

For nearly twenty minutes, I patiently followed Sophie around the fountain, then back towards the building. “Ahhhh!” she exclaimed in wonder as the automatic door swung open. It seemed luxurious to take the opportunity to witness her curiosity, her genuine zeal for the world around her, and I reminded myself that it was a gift I was given every day, should I choose to open it.

It’s okay, I reminded myself when familiar waves of restlessness urged me forward. We’re taking our time today.


Following her lead
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