I wasn’t sure what time it was, I knew it was earlier than I wanted to rise, when I heard shuffling feet across the floor from a distance. They stopped, I rolled over, a few minutes passed, I tossed the other direction to check the jamb (my email, facebook, and twitter), but no one under 3 foot four was at the door. Thankfully, no one above that height was there either. I grabbed my last moments of solitude for the day, stretched, and made my way to the living room. Peeking out, I love watching the kids when they don’t know I’m there, I saw Haze curled up sleeping on the couch. The vision inspired calm in what is normally a manic morning march to maneuver minds and bodies in a positive direction.

The kids used to come into our room in the morning; we suggested they stay in their rooms until they heard us in the kitchen, they, lucky for us, compromised on the living room – with the occasional family bed mornings. I made my way to the couch; Haze opened her eyes, stretched, yawned, blinked, closed her eyes, opened them, and smiled. “Good Morning Haze.” I gently rubbed her back, she asked me to cuddle, and we laid side-by-side for a moment until she took pleasure in pulling my eyelid up with the thumb of one hand while she poked my eyeball with a finger of her other.

what are you lookin’ at?

Simple enough, a nice moment to start the day. The warmth I felt while rubbing her back is something that I don’t take the time to do often enough. Sure, I rub our kids backs, give them hugs, kiss their faces, and show affection, sometimes obnoxiously, but I don’t always absorb the moment. Many times I am doing, without stopping to realize exactly what I am doing. The difference between kissing a loved one as they make their way out the door in the morning, and kissing them after they return from a four-day stay in another location.

This feeling stayed with me for most of the day, leaving a half-hour before dinner when Mae wouldn’t stop scaring Haze and Haze wouldn’t stop screaming at Mae, when I sat them both down in remote locations so I could finish preparing what would end their freakiness – food. But, before that, I read books with more intention, listened to all their words (well most, but let me paint the picture), took time to watch them brush their teeth – without grabbing bristled Dora to hurry up the process. In other words, I stayed with them all day.

My Papa Sense tells me:

This is not a realistic way to go through life. We all have minds that wander, patience that dwindle, and routines that keep us structured, focused, and on top of the myriad of responsibilities that fill our lives. What I do believe is that we can take lessons from days like these and apply them to one, maybe two, situations in a day. It reminds us to slow down, a gift that our children have given to me. Kids don’t, shouldn’t, have the worries and struggles that we create as we age. They know their minds, minds that are absorbing every encounter, scenic route, and discussion that they have. It’s nice to stop and live in that world from time-to-time. It’s healthy to shut out the hustle and worry, and to feel the real warmth that emanates from the back of a two-year old when her Dad wakes to find her on the couch.