Heid: Listening ears, open eyes

“Mommy, why is the rain red?”

I looked around a little bit. I didn’t see any red rain.

Impatiently waiting for the car ahead of me to advance, I asked, “Where, John?”

By Jess Heid john’s mom works

By Jess Heid
john’s mom works

“On the windshield!”

On closer inspection, I did in fact see red rain: the tail lights from the car in front of us were reflecting in the raindrops sitting on the glass. We had a nice little discussion about the reflecting light, and what reflection means, and why we saw only red and not other colors … until a traffic light turned green and we got some pretty green drops as well.

* * *

The things that are important to John are often not the things that are (initially) important to me. I rush him along, hurrying to get where we need to go on time. I admonish him for not answering me when I speak to him. I tell him he needs to put on his “listening ears” and act in an orderly way.

He closes his eyes and says, “Mommy! I can’t see you!”

I impatiently say, “Open your eyes before you run into something, John, and hurry because we’re late for school.”

I let my lateness dictate what he sees in the world around him – in this universe that to him is still new and fresh and fascinating. I let my grown-up hurry override his childlike wonder. Shame on me!

Perhaps it is I who should put on my listening ears: to hear the narration of the awesome things my not-yet-four-year-old perceives around him.

Perhaps it is I who should open my eyes: to see the light reflecting off the raindrops and refracting across my windshield.

* * *

As we neared school, the stormy clouds let loose with a bolt of lightning that spanned most of the visible sky. The bolt forked and traveled fast and was gone in a flash.

“Mommy! The thunder made the sky crack into pieces but they all stuck together!”

And when I think about that simple sentence, I know this truth: my children were given to me so that I might not take for granted even a simple lightning bolt in the chaos of our day-to-day life.

So I am making a promise to my kiddos: Mommy is going to work on her listening ears and opening her eyes … and we’ll work on that being late thing, too, but mostly I will just try to stay focused on the amazing. Including those self-same kids.

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