Monday, April 27, 2009

"Mommy, we're supposed to PRAY!"

The problem with Tessa is that sometimes she listens to me. Yes, you read that right. Of course I get irritated when she doesn't listen, but yesterday I got irritated when she did listen.

And I don't really think I'm all that irritable, but....

I digress.

Anyway, yesterday Tessa repeated my words back to me when I wasn't prepared to listen. We had gone for a walk - five blocks downhill - to see the Hisatomi's new puppy (hurrah!), had a lovely visit, and were headed home. Tessa had her Razor scooter, and we were enjoying the weather and the day, though I was feeling the push to get a few things done and to move on to the next activities (planting pots, etc.). Tessa said she wanted to stop (Mama, it's so steep!), and proceeded to look at the clovers and the daisies in a patch of grass. I waited what I thought was a reasonable amount of time, and said, "Okay, now let's go."

Tessa said, "No, Mommy, we're supposed to PRAY."


Oh, yah.

Yesterday I did the children's story (the story for all ages) at church. Since the service was based on Mary Oliver's poetry, I read "The Summer Day" to the children, and then we talked about different ways to pray. Of course, you can pray in church, and you can pray like a grace before a meal, and you can pray "pleasepleasepleaseplease" and you can pray "thank you" and you can pray a yogic breath....and you can pray by paying attention. We talked about how Mary Oliver likes to pay attention, to wander the fields. I mentioned that the kids needed to help their parents with this kind of prayer, because adults get so grouchy and schedule oriented and their cell phones keep ringing and they're always doing laundry and carpools and hurrying and scurrying....but children know how to live in the moment, how to get caught up in looking at the small stuff, how to enjoy just being where they are and not thinking about what happened yesterday and what will happen next. I told the kids to help their grown ups, because we need help with this kind of prayer, and it's an important prayer, too.

And when I wasn't thinking of it, Tessa called me on it.

And I didn't respond properly. I said, "What? Oh, that. Ya. Hmm. Well, honey, don't you want to go home so you can play on your swings?"

I have a lot to learn.

I've been listening to a podcast about mindfulness that is right on track.

Better yet, I took Shep for a run/walk and we walked to Colman Pool and back. Out in the middle of Lincoln Park, I took off my headset and just breathed in the smell of low tide and felt the wind and saw so many birds and wildflowers at the side of the trail and people with their dogs and I stopped and let Shep sniff every one (only the ones who wanted to, I should say). I was done running anyway- my endurance is zip - and the slowing down did more for me than any power walk, anyway.

Last night after realizing my mistake yesterday I told Tessa not to give up on me, that she could teach me, that I didn't know why I got confused so quickly, but that I like her lesson.

Thanks, Tessa.

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