One day I was enjoying shopping by myself. No kids whining for more more more…no little hands reaching out of the cart to snag something else, no arguing about how this and that wasn’t on our list. It was heavenly!
I didn’t even mind waiting in line to check out, because I was enjoying peace, quiet, and a little “me” time…even if it was just standing in the line at TJ Maxx. I waited behind a man with two little girls. As I relished the fact that I was not having to keep two children busy while we waited, I listened to the dad and daughter talking.
“What’s this?” she asked. She was touching everything. “It’s a book,” her dad replied. He reached out and, cupping her hands in his, gently placed them onto other items in the checkout lane, specifically located there so that us shoppers just couldn’t pass them up. “Here you go…here are some toys,” dad told her. She touched the toys and their boxes, the faces of the dolls….and it was then that I noticed her white cane with a red tip.
This little girl, who was blind, was exploring all around her. And then I had a shift in my perspective. As I am usually discouraging my children from looking, let alone touching, this father was encouraging and assisting his child in the exploration of items while we waited.
Another day I ran into a beauty supply store for a pair of nail clippers. This was not a usual stop for me…but something I just needed to grab and go. The woman behind the counter was very pleasant and kind, and she was trying to get me interested in a “perks” card for their store. I could feel the sweat building on my brow as my son was eyeing anything within reach to turn into a lightsaber. I was trying to give my attention to the woman behind the counter, all while just wishing to make my “quickie” purchase and get home. I didn’t want to be a grinch, but I didn’t need the “perks” because I wasn’t a regular customer. However, it was then that I had a shift in my perspective. Whether this job was this woman’s livelihood, part time job, or retirement padding, she made her pitch to me like this was the best thing that ever happened to her. The pride she took in her job showed, no matter if she was being compensated at an amazing salary or a measly hourly rate. She took the job she had to do and made it into something interesting and exciting. And while I still said “No thank you,” to her perks card, I did want to contact her manager and let them know what a valuable employee they had in her.
Recently I took a few days off my full time job and was intent on playing at being a “stay at home mom.” In my mind I would have all sorts of free time, get tons accomplished, my kids would be happy to have my attention, and I’d feel refreshed. I also promised myself not to focus on things like laundry. In reality, some of those happened, and some did not! I found myself with a short list of “fun” ideas to keep us busy, but didn’t really take into account how long it actually takes to just get out of the house with two kids and no scheduled time to be somewhere. I thought I’d work on some house projects, but that would defeat the purpose of being off work to spend time with my kids. I took them to fun places like the Putnam Museum, the library, and McManus Park….but why were they still crabby about having to drive in the car? One begged to go to the toy store for a fun surprise….”Isn’t spending time with me a fun surprise in itself?!” I asked. All the while the laundry piled up. And then I had a shift in my perspective. We were having fun and accomplishing things. It may not have been everything on the list in the way that I intended, but we had each others’ company. A picnic at the park. Sunshine. Time without feeling rushed. No agenda. Making cookies. Staying up past bedtime to watch thunderstorms in bed together. Snuggles midday on the couch. Book reading. Naps. Although it wasn’t the same kind of refreshment as a kid-free vacation with my spouse, it was still refreshment of my soul. It gave me time away from the daily grind of employment to focus on my real job….just being a mom to my kids, without some of the everyday distractions. It gave me the time to think more about my blessings, and all the good things I truly have, and taking more time each day to just rock our daughter to sleep, read an extra book with our son, kiss the tops of their freshly bathed heads, and sneak into their rooms once they’re asleep to just marvel at their precious little lives.
My perspective in each of these situations had shifted. It reminded me that sometimes life doesn’t turn out the way we plan. Sometimes the simple things we notice have the biggest impact on us. And sometimes the things that can have the biggest impact on us are what we need to focus on, instead of the minutiae. A small shift in your perspective can do wonders. Sometimes it’s letting go of what we thought was important to realize what is truly important.