A Reminder to Stop

Hannah loves camp.  She relives each day with me every night as I lie in bed with her and ask her about the exciting, fun moments at her new special place. She wakes up early every morning ready for what activities lay in front of her for the day.

This year she takes the bus.  We wait outside and play as she waits with anticipation for this big yellow symbol of maturity and independence to drive up.  When it appears around the corner she throws her Hello Kitty backpack over her shoulders, grabs my hand and pulls me anxiously toward it as she searches through the windows for her new friends.

Except yesterday.

Yesterday she started to dart toward the bus and then something caught her eye.  Since early in the spring we’ve been watching the hydrangea bushes grow in the front yard.  They ended in the winter as old brown sticks low to the ground and since then we’ve watched them through many stages. Small green stems without leaves.  Longer, stronger stems with soft, floppy green leaves.  Large, bushy, overlapping stems and leaves with tiny white buds.  And recently, we’ve seen the small buds gain color and bloom more and more each day.  And yesterday one of the new flowers stopped her in her tracks.

She whirled around mid leap and stopped to study it.  Smell it.  Appreciate it.  The bus waited impatiently, the bus counselor standing in our driveway ready to lead her to her seat but she pulled me toward the flower and insisted I smell it too.  “Isn’t it beautiful mommy? It’s perfect.”

She was right.  The periwinkle flower Was perfect.  I’m not sure I even would have noticed it had she not pointed it out to me. Sadly, I often notice the flowers when they’ve started to brown and look forlorn rather than revel in their glorious beauty early in the season.

Once again, one of my children showed me how to Stop. Take notice. See what’s around me and not simply rush from one obligation and task to another.

It’s July 1.  As my friend Lindsey pointed out last night, it’s the midway point in the year.  Half over. Half beginning.  I’m going to use this Middle point to Stop and See.  See what I’ve done and what I still want to do this year. See what Is around me and what is Waiting for me to notice around me.  Pull out those resolutions (yes, I did write some back in January) and remind myself what I Promised to do (and kick myself for making them so damn hard to achieve!).

I’m not promising to look at this half way point in the year as a reason to start being more productive or rushing to check things off my list.  Just the opposite actually.  Per Hannah’s recommendation yesterday, I’m actually going to look at this 6 month mark as an excuse to Slow Down.  Sit by the pool and close my eyes.  Read a book. Rub my dog’s belly for 15 extra minutes. Drink my coffee on the patio.  Allow Luke to walk around bare foot in the dirt, even if it means time washing them off in the sink.  Walk by the hydrangea bushes a little slower each morning to see each new bloom as they appear.

Because at this rate, it will be Thanksgiving and Chanukah and New Year’s before I know it.  And I’m not ready to write my new resolutions yet… not until I enjoy Today a little first.

I am participating in Bigger Picture Moments this week hosted over at Trains Tutus and Tea Time where we share how we noticed the Bigger Picture in life a little this week.  Thanks Corinne!

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22 responses to “A Reminder to Stop

  1. Exquisite!

    I happened to take a walk with all three daughters in the backyard before work this morning. Our morning glory burst into July with its first two blooms. The vibrant purple, trumpet shaped blossoms winked at us as they bobbed in the wind. It was spectacular!

  2. Sarah

    You inspire me! I enjoy your writing so much and have a son starting kindergarten in the fall as well. I have finally started working really hard to stop and enjoy the gift of today and not always looking at what is to come. Thank you!

  3. Stopping to take notice is so very important. It is the bigger picture in a small moment.

  4. My wedding bouquet was made up of blue hydrangeas 🙂
    Such a lovely moment, so glad you stopped! And what a glorious way to look at life, actually stopping and smelling the flowers!

  5. Hydrangeas are some of my absolute favorites! Your little girl has good taste 🙂

    And I love that you took it as a shot to the heart, to slow down and dig into each moment. Lovely.

    (Your blog is fabulous! I love your ‘analyzer of the bacon’ and ‘thrower of the bacon’ tags for your kids. Ha!)

  6. What a great reminder, Becca. Normally I would just rush my daughter along, not wanting to keep the bus driver waiting. But you recognized the beauty and the importance of Hannah taking the time to stop and enjoy the beautiful blooming flower. Good for you. And thanks!

  7. Kids are so good at this aren’t they? Making us stop and take it all in. That’s one of the beautiful things about having kids.

  8. Good for you, allowing her to take the time to stop and appreciate the world, or at least the one little flower of it that captivated her then. It’s so easy to go from one thing to anther and not to take those moments, and yet so valuable when we do. Thanks for the reminder.

  9. Jen

    Yes! We moved into our house five years ago, and every spring since we have relocated our two hydrangeas. This year is the first year they are blooming, and each day for the last several I have found myself just gulping up the beauty that is periwinkle blossoms. Enjoy the day. And look to the future. Our children are wise wise teachers.

  10. Eva

    Yes, just beautiful. I call these “Stop, Pause and Reflect” moments – and I really need to try to create them more often. To appreciate the flowers before they are starting to wilt and turn brown!

  11. Blue hydrangeas were my wedding flowers. Their season is just ending here. But I’ll live vicariously through their new blooms in New England.

  12. Thank you for the reminder. It’s tough for me to live in the moment. So much to work through from the past. So much to prepare for the future.

    I turn around, and now is gone.

    Today I will be here.


  13. It’s so true isn’t it, how quickly it all passes us by and we just MISS IT. So much of it. Today I got all wrapped up in my technical stuff that I groaned and threw my hands in the air and said why, oh why, does life have to be so complicated. So complicated that I end up being distracted for all the fun stuff. But you reminder it doesn’t need to be that way. Slow it down, smell the flowers, take it in. I need to hear it over and over.

    And coffee on the patio in the morning – one of my most favourite things EVER.

  14. I love hydrangeas. What a nice moment you shared with your daughter. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  15. Hydrangeas fill our front yard (which is the size of four postage stamps). I adore them. They are all blooming like crazy right now. Good for Hannah. They remind us, and pull us back, don’t they, these kids? At least they do me.
    I love this story.

  16. lovely! i hadn’t considered today as “halfway through,” either. good reminders, all around:)

  17. You GOT the picture! You got it! You captured it! The one with the beautiful blossom…and that pretty flower, too! Some moments are just meant to push us a little further. And you and I are on the same course…slowing down. I’ve slowed WAY down. Faded, but in a good way. Amidst all the emotional push and pull from my heart and my brain, the fading has been nice. The slowing down means more time spent just to spend time. Not to DO anything. Because you know what? The DOING will get done. It always does. But time spent BEING? That’s different.


  18. What an absolutely beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder!

  19. Stopping to smell the flowers and just having to go slower to do ANYTHING is a wonderful gift of parenting. And so great for my impatience nature!

  20. Becca,
    How wonderful you were able to capture Hannah in such a thought provoking action. Actually stopping to smell the flowers. I would frame that picture and put it in a place where it would remind me to do that, every minute I was able to do it…

    As for hydrangeas, I wish I lived in a place where it wasn’t too hot to grow them…I will enjoy them when we go north in the next couple of weeks!

  21. Liz

    Wow. She was right. It is perfect.
    I need a constant reminder to stop also. Ben or Aidan often stop me to stare in amazement at something…a bug, a leaf, sometimes even a flower, more often a bird or a plane…and sometimes I do stop, and ponder, and stare. Other times, more often than I care to admit, I sigh, I get annoyed, I pull and drag along…”Yes, yes, honey…let’s go…we’ve gotta go.” It is something I am constantly trying to catch myself on.

  22. Nicki

    Wow! I would have been looking for my camera! I swear.

    It is time to review and look ahead – slowly, with intent.

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