The Third Bird

If you are ever wondering how to slow down in life, simply go on a walk with a toddler. 

Today, I let Mara lead. Rather than my usual, “come on, let’s go, time to roll”….

I followed her home from dropping her big sisters off at school. And seven minutes slowly became thirty. 

Her inherent curiosity in every nuance was both maddening and extraordinary. Sucked in like a tiny human pollinator, she stopped and smelled every single flower. She waltzed backwards, in circles and sat on the curb to rest. Wandered along every corner and crooked edge. Squatted down low to watch a rolly-polly cross the sidewalk.

Mara is this way, in other ways too. Like many toddlers, she is not just a passerby to the world, she is “of” her surroundings. At the beach, she rolls in the sand like she’s rolling down a hill, smothers her face in it. On a hike, she lays her belly down on the warm trail and watches the dirt slip through her hands. At home, she sticks her finger in the mud and licks it like chocolate frosting. 

I often catch her gazing up peacefully at the sky. 

Every moment of her life is a miniature love affair. Every smile feels like her biggest yet. Every ice cream (“eye-eye”) cone, the best ever. 

Her love feels like light pouring through a colorful stained glass window. 

Oh how I love this third little bird.

Mother Tongue

I pulled a honey bee stinger out of a little girl’s palm at a birthday party. She was already crying from missing her mom, but this infraction really took the cake. 

Five of us mothers huddled around, reassuring and loving on her — someone grabbed a bag of frozen corn. 

Her mom was called and I heard, “I’ll be right there”, on the other side of the line. She sailed in gracefully, scooped her daughter onto her lap and swayed back and forth, speaking their native language of love. 

There was no one else in the world better than the comfort of her mother’s arms, the scent of her body, the warmth of her words penetrating sad tears. 

I mother everyday. I comfort my daughters. I heal them with my love. But seeing who I am to them, through the near distance of another mother-daughter, was strikingly beautiful, almost unbelievable. 

Our love is an archetype.

Our tongue is a language of endless variety, but in the end, we are all mother.

We are everything — wrapped in ordinary.