“DON’T MAKE A MOVE!” our three-year old said in as tough a tone as a three-year old could muster. He’d hidden a gun somewhere in his pajamas and he’d picked this moment to pounce.
His mother held up her hands and stood in the kitchen…waiting for the crime to play out.
The gun was small.
The pajamas were loose.
Minutes later, the gun was in his hand and his pajamas were around his ankles….and the naked criminal had pulled off another heist. He’d managed to find his tiny gun after a lot of digging.
We learn by watching. I know now that to try to pull off a holdup with my gun hidden in a loose onesy is not going to end well. I know that to yell “DON’T MAKE A MOVE!!!” is going to lose its impact if I have to do a lot of screwing around to dig out my “piece”. I know that I need to be very descriptive of exactly what I’m doing if, as an adult, I have to describe trying to dig out my “weapon” in the middle of a crime…no matter where it’s migrated to in my pj’s.
What’s cute for a child is creepy on so many levels if an adult tries the same thing.
We picked the same child up after a bath the other night….taking him in to get him dressed for bed time. We carried him like a “mini me”…facing forward, held to our chest…to the same place to do the same night-time ritual we’d done hundreds of times before. “WHERE ARE YOU TAKING ME!?”, he yelled. “Where are you taking me?”. Where does a question like that come from? It’s a good question…probably a question that all children should ask their parents more frequently…but what led to a question like that?
In retrospect, I might have asked that question a time or two in my own life. A person looks back and wonders…like the Talking Heads song…”how did I get here?”. It all washes over you…time and experience…a string of disconnected events that somehow makes some sense at some point. I could attempt to “wax philosophic” about all my efforts to understand it all…but it’s just blowing smoke in the end.
When you get down to it, when you are digging a toy gun out of the foot of your pajamas, you better be 100% present. There isn’t any room for a lack of mindfulness…there isn’t any room for an awareness of mindfulness…you just are. That’s the beauty of being a child…there isn’t any weird internal dialogue going on about mortgages or college or insurance or menus or workplace dramas or any of the other things we think about as adults…it’s just the “now”.
I don’t know how to live completely in the “now”. I guess that the more I wonder “how” to live like that the farther away I move from living in the present. If it’s still an ongoing struggle, I suppose that I haven’t figured it out yet. Life shouldn’t be a struggle…or a quiet desperation (no matter what Thoreau said). I guess that a person has too much time their hands if they can ponder some of these issues too deeply, anyway. There are a lot of floors that need sweeping…it’s probably important to get out of your own head when it all gets “too deep”.
Maybe if I can picture myself standing in the kitchen in my oversized onesy, yelling out to no one in particular, “DON’T MAKE A MOVE!!!”, I’ll be able to keep it in perspective. When in doubt…stand VERY STILL.