I love to-do lists. My husband will tell you mournfully that my idea of a good time is “getting so much done!” He’s actually complained to me that he never sees me just. sit. down. and. RELAX. Nothing makes me feel better at the end of the day than being able to go down the row of things accomplished and completed.
Unfortunately for me, having two little ones and getting more pregnant all the time with #3 has a way of slowing down my progress through my daily tasks. And I’ve realized that for many things, it’s not about letting things go “for the time being”. It’s about just plain old letting things go. Taking the time to stop and smell the roses. Kicking the ole to-do list to the curb. Because when I’ve got my nose in a list, I’m missing out on a lot of the good stuff.
This past Friday, Grace had a playdate with her Nana, so I had a plan for some errands that would be easier to do with just my 4 year old in tow. But when I woke up on Friday morning, and saw that it was a gorgeous day, I kind of couldn’t bear the thought of using it up inside of malls and grocery stores. So after we dropped off his sister, Joey and I decided we’d spend the morning at the Botanic Gardens instead. It wasn’t on the way to anything else. It wasn’t convenient. It wasn’t some educational experience I had signed him up for months in advance. It was just the two of us, hanging out.
I don’t know if it was the beautiful weather, or the gorgeous blooming plants, or just the change in our routine, but the morning felt kind of magical. I let my sweet boy talk my ear off with all kinds of silliness and seriousness and reveled in this little person he’s becoming as he ran far ahead of me, stopping only every few minutes to glance back and make sure I still followed, then running back and holding my hand for a few minutes before darting off again.
I learned so many things about his heart and mind by just being with him. And it shocked me a bit how foreign it felt just to be with my child. Our days are so often filled with tasks, activities, errands, learning. Those can be beautiful in themselves, but you experience so much when you just take some time to just enjoy something together, for no reason other than you’re both having fun and being with each other. As we got into the car, Joey said, “I had a lot of fun with you, Mama!” Sob.
And then we had lunch at Chipotle and we sat across from another mom and her son (who was maybe 9 or 10), and I might have teared up a little at the thought of how quickly time passes. It’s not a fun date until mom cries in her guacamole, right?
So lesson learned: Ditching my to-do list is pretty worth it. Not just worth it, but rewarding in ways that I don’t always anticipate. Ways that feel even better than checking something off a list.