In parallel

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We only had twenty minutes.

So we sat in the grass.

Just sat in the grass. Us, surrounded by little blades of green poking and tickling and swaying lightly in the breeze. No bubbles or chalk or trucks or blocks. Not even a blanket to prevent the inevitable grass stains. Just us. In the grass.

Because, you see, we only had twenty minutes.

And we noticed the trucks driving by and the birds as they flew. We watched the clouds rolling in, dark and stormy but not quite ominous. And we felt the breeze that was preparing to usher in that storm but that, for the moment, felt soft and sweeping.

He sat in my lap and began to pull at the grass. Grasping and tugging  at tiny blades until they came free from the earth. He piled the little clippings in my hand and, when we both felt we’d collected enough, I raised my hands to my lips and gently blew them away. They flurried from my finger tips, falling back to the ground in a rapid blizzard of green, becoming once again lost. He was delighted. He giggled with glee as he began again. Grasping and tugging and pulling and waiting eagerly for me to send them in a flurry back to the ground.

This is how we passed our twenty minutes in the grass. The world’s slowest lawn maintenance. The world’s simplest game. And, in that moment, the world’s most delighted little boy.

in the grass

We don’t spend many minutes this way, he and I. We spend so many minutes together. More than I spend with any other human, in fact. But we’re always bustling. To-doing. Errands and laundry and cooking and cleaning.

We spend so many of our minutes in parallel. Next to one another, yes. Together, sure. But we don’t often cross like this. We don’t often meet. Connect. Intersect. He’s eating and I’m cooking. He’s playing and I’m folding. He’s riding and pointing and I’m pushing and collecting. And we interact, of course, but we don’t often intersect. Not like this, his legs dangling over mine, his little hands bouncing on my fingers, my hair dusting the top of his head and tickling his ears, both of us completely at peace in the moment and content. No, we don’t often intersect like this.

And that, is sad.

[Tweet “I don’t want to live a life in parallel.”]

I don’t want to move along and continue forever, never lonely, for there is always someone next to me, but alone. Never crossing or intertwining or connecting.

I get caught up in the doing and the things to be done. I miss the being. Being me. Being us. Being connected and intersected. I miss the grass and the uniquely grassy way it pokes and tickles. I miss the clouds in their beauty and the birds as they fly. I miss his giggles and his childlike way of attaching himself to an activity and obsessively repeating it until his curiosity has been satiated. There is such beauty in his repetition. Such simple loveliness in the way he fits so perfectly in my lap. Such comfort in the weight of his small body, which, yes I know I said it feels overwhelming, and yes, sometimes it does, but it can also feel just so comfortable. When I relax into it, open myself up to how fleeting the window is that will find him here, wanting to be so close to me that he’s drawn to sit on top of me, I find peace in it. I realize that this is where the connection starts. If we intersect now, intertwine now, we’ll both grow this way. I want to grow this way. With a few, select people in this world, I want to grow intertwined and wrapped around.

There is such peace in spending twenty connected minutes. In veering off my path, bending my straight line so that I intersect with another human. Forgetting the lists and the things to do so that I can just sit in the grass.

9 Comments

  1. So beautiful. I am going to make time for some truly connected minutes with my son today.
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted..The 6 Christmas Gifts My Toddler is Still Obsessed WithMy Profile

  2. I find so many more parallel moments as my kids have gotten older. But with teens, I’m thankful for those moments; we all take comfort in being home together. Our playing in the grass moments are now family walks – unplugged, no other demands, attentive to one another. Lovely post Tricia!
    Dana recently posted..What’s on your summer reading list?My Profile

  3. Lately Des is all about intersections. We do spend a lot of time together, and a lot of it is spent with Scarlet and/or Cassidy. A lot of it is spent working side by side. Lately he needs to be in my lap or my arms nearly always when we’re away from, and sometimes when we’re at home.
    I’m very thankful for all of these intersections, and I like some parallel time too!
    Tamara recently posted..Sometimes I Think Horrible Things About Myself.My Profile

  4. Love this! So true – I spend so many minutes with my daughters but I rarely allow myself to just be with them. We are always hurrying to get something done or get to the next activity. We all need to take a few minutes to just sit in the grass once in a while.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Ten Patches Every Mother Needs {Tuesday Ten LinkUp}My Profile

  5. Absolutely beautiful, Tricia. I have moments of intersection in the morning when my girls climb into bed with me before we’re ready to get up for the day. We snuggle, our legs get tangled up, and I breathe in their sweet scent. We run in parallel or separately for most of the day, so I love this way to connect before we have to go our separate ways.
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Mothers are Elite Athletes: A Guest Post at Jill ConyersMy Profile

  6. 1. Twenty minutes can be an eternity if you spent it the right way. You definitely did.

    2. Running parallel isn’t intersections, of course, but it gives you opportunities for intersections. When you run far apart, then it’s harder. This will come into play as your kids get older. I’m happy that I do run parallel with my girls, and never more than a block or two away.

    3. With some of my kids, sometimes, it’s easier to find the intersections. They just happen. Today, with two of us sick. not the best of circumstances, but I’ll take a binge day of Bones on netflix for it!
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Guest Post: Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy on 5 Things She’s Lost as a MotherMy Profile

  7. Beautiful! For this reason, tucking my son into bed is one of my favorite moments of the day. No more running, just be there, connect.
    Tamara recently posted..Girlfriends are tough findsMy Profile

  8. I love this. I find my kids and I (and my husband and I) in parallel all the time. It’s necessary and practical but it still makes me sad. Even though we’re together I still feel like I’m missing so much if I don’t purposefully take the time to intersect with them.
    Stephanie recently posted..PowerICE – A Love StoryMy Profile

  9. This is so lovely. I see the parallels in my life, too. But I relish those moments of connection, where my path entwines with my dear ones. Whether it is a few minutes for a cuddle on movie night, or a conversation in the car – I cherish those times.
    Kim recently posted..We’ve Got ThisMy Profile

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