This picture is one that my husband texted me of the view from his office window.
I sent him back a view from mine.
I have no windows in my office. Most of the time I leave my door wide open into the greater common area, inviting whatever energy and elements might care to wander through my little space.
A student will come in, sit down, and comment about how gorgeous it is outside. I had no idea.
Or when I drove in to work, the sun was shining but suddenly people start wandering in with dripping umbrellas and soggy shoes, and I wonder when in the world did that happen?
Then there are those few occasions between November and February when I hear other people exclaim “It’s snowing!” and I dash out my door to peer through the window and get a glimpse of the magic – the weather that took all day to roll in but ended up taking me by surprise.
This motherhood, it’s like that. We’re so stuck in the day-to-day, closed off from the big picture because we’re working our own little tasks and to-do lists that we miss those subtle, gradual changes that nearly knock us off our feet when the little things turn into the big things and we wonder how on earth that happened.
- I’ve been teaching you how to put your dishes in the sink, when did you start picking out your own clothes?
- I’ve been trying to stop you from drinking the floor cleaner, when did you stop eating Legos?
- We’ve been communicating with each other for the past year and a half, but when did you start following directions?
- You’ve been making friends at school, but when did you start to feel peer pressure?
- I’ve been trying to teach you to read, when did you grow a beard?
Ok, maybe we’re not quite there but you get it. If we don’t take the time to look out the window – and not just glance, but really look – then we’ve missed it. We’ve focused on those little things – and certainly, those are important little things because if you don’t teach him how to brush his teeth, who will? – but missed the big things.
And I think this isn’t just true for those of us in the workforce. Certainly, it feels easier to “miss” things because for a whole lot of hours in the week, we just aren’t physically there. But even when we are there – and I imagine this is a struggle for all mamas, in the workforce or not – it’s so easy to be the task-master who’s cooking and cleaning and teaching and encouraging and even playing but not really be looking through the window.
So step out, look up, peek through the window. Purposefully notice the subtle changes as they happen so the big changes don’t take you by surprise.