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.