Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Sign Spoke To Me...or something like that

Every Monday and Thursday, while driving from one school to another for work, I see the following sign:

Though I've probably seen that sign at least 48 times since September, today it got me thinking.  My first thought was, "that's a goofy sign!"  It's not like the children that might be present will be lined along the road just so that we can see them.   Kids play hide and seek.  They play with balls that bounce away erratically.  They dart out into roads when we least expect it.  They don't alter their behavior just because we know or don't know that they are present.  In Calgary, playground zones were always slow zones between sunrise and sunset.  School zones were always slow zones during posted school hours.  At first this was annoying to me, but then I realized it made a lot of sense. 

Once I concluded that Calgarian school zone laws made more sense than Minnesota school zone laws - yes, I am a nerd - my thoughts moved on. 

The next thought I had was, "that sign is telling me  to slow down because children are present."  Huh.  What a good reminder!

So often my life is on fast forward.  If it's not on fast forward, it is frequently set to my own agenda.  Get the bills paid.  Wash the floors.  Send out that e-mail.  Run over to the YMCA for a work out.  Make an overdue phone call to a friend or family member. There is always something to do, even if that something may appear to have no purpose or value to an outside observer ( an occasional round of on-line scrabble, perhaps? Though we all know it's keeping my brain "fit").

Sometimes when my children are present, I forget to slow down.  I forget (or choose not) to involve them in my life.  I forget to involve myself in theirs.  I forget to be present.  Sometimes, make that most times, it is easier to stick to the things I want or "need" to do, rather than change my plans to fit the things that my children want or need me to do with or for them.

The older I get, the more often I hear myself saying, "how can it be ____day already?"  Perhaps, if I took more time to slow down when the children are present, the time would not fly by as fast as it does.  No doubt my time with the kids would be richer and more valuable.  No doubt the memories we make would last a little longer if I slowed down and spent more time with them. 

2007 Glacier National Park

The saying is true...they are only little for a little while.  Before I know it, my Zachary will be a teenager.  A T.E.E.N.A.G.E.R!!!  How can that possibly be?  My "baby" girl is only half a year away from starting Kindergarten.  In only half a year, I will have no more preschoolers.  My Benji will be the supportive big brother escorting Elly onto the bus and into the school.  Ahhhhh!  I can feel the wrinkles getting a little deeper as I type.

Ben and Elly slowing down together to read under a futon in 2007

My kidlets will be back home with me tomorrow night.  Perhaps I need to go out and find myself a street sign to remind me to slow down when the kids are present.  Okay, not really, but I do need to be more mindful of the time I have with them while I still have it.  I would never want my kids to look back and wonder why I didn't stop to smell the roses with them...or play in the puddles with them...or simply slow down and be with them.  I would never want to look back and wonder where the time went and why I didn't slow down and be present with my children while they were still present to be with.

Now, if you have children present, slow down and go be present!

Zac, Ben, and Elly at Glacier National Park, Summer 2007 - Aren't they cute?!?


  1. Great reminder!!

  2. Excellent post! I'm hearing you!!! Gotta go slow down NOW...


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