Sweet boredom

I take a lot of walks with Emerson. In the mornings, we take the stroller to the lake to watch the ducks swim as the sun rises over the water. We both seem to enjoy a bit of silence in nature to start our day. But, this morning, Emerson protested to our routine. We only made it a third of a mile before she began whining and trying to free herself from the three-point harness. She wanted to get out. To explore. To not be silent. So I decided to let her do her thing.


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This was certainly not my first Emerson-led walk. I hold her hand while she roams around our block every afternoon. But, I have never attempted a third of a mile before (which is really the equivalent of like two miles in an adult-sized world). Toddlers move at an impossibly slow rate when you let them free in the world.

And so, I took a deep breath and let Emerson out of her stroller. She sat on every stone wall she saw, weeded every yard on the street, watched DOT men paint lines on the road, stopped to listen to a dog bark for five minutes, walked into our neighborhood café (with a big stick and four dandelions in her hand) just to check out all the patrons. It took us nearly an hour to walk a third of a mile.

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It was amazing to see the world through Emerson’s eyes, to be led through a series of experiences that appealed to her freely (without me suggesting or leading). It was one of those perfectly sweet moments in my life as a mother. A truly wonderful morning. But, I couldn’t help but contemplate the feeling that often accompanies experiences such as this one: boredom.

Yes, I said it. Hanging out with a very young child all day can be boring.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love it. I have made enormous sacrifices in every other area of my life in order to spend all my time at home with my child. But, I sometimes (or often) can’t control my sense of impatience. I want nothing more than to be present for Emerson, and so I work daily at slowing down and ignoring my adult impulses. But, as much as I can totally let go and hang out reading books by the light of a lantern in a tent for hours with my child, I also find myself fighting to stay engaged in filling up bowls with dry pasta….dumping them out….filling them again….dumping them out….oh wait…..filling them up again.

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My days consist of some crazy combination of total boredom and absolute wonder and gratitude. There is so much satisfaction to be found in those moments when I put my adult self on hold to be in the world as a child.

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