We all have aspects of our characters and actions that we want our children to take on. I love seeing my daughters work hard finishing something with the tenacity that they’ve no doubt seen me employ in the final miles of an obstacle course race. We all have our special areas of improvement too… ones that we’d rather not impart upon our children.
Truth is, our kids usually follow us blindly along the path into the human beings we shape them to be. Of course, nature plays a large role in determining their little (OK sometimes big) personalities, but I’ve never seen a more accurate impersonation of myself. Talk about self-reflection at it’s best.
One my “special areas” is slowing down enough to appreciate the little things. My husband made fun of me pre-kids for my obsession with doing everything as fast as possible. In the ultra-marathon running world, it’s referred to as “fastest known time” or FKT. And I wanted the FKT for everything.
- Oh that sounds like a beautiful hike. Is there a fastest known time?
- I need a few things from the store. I’ll be back in seven and a half minutes. FKT for eggs, milk and spinach.
- You should start running to work. You could shave at least 20 minutes off your commute. Is there an FKT for your route?
- As you can imagine, I had the “fastest known time” approach to everything.
And then I had kids. It now takes me an hour and a half to do something that rightfully should take five minutes. I’ve adjusted, I’ve even learned to appreciate slowing down. I know now that you miss the most important stuff when you’re rushing through life, judging each moment on it’s productivity score.
Although sometimes I worry that FKT me is still trying to claw it’s way out. Less face it, you have way more stuff to do when you have kids – and way less time to do it.
Last night, FKT me wanted my older daughter to get out of the bathtub before all the water drained so we could start the bedtime routine. FKT me told myself that she has developed this weird thing with letting all the water drain out that adds two minutes to my otherwise efficient routine. But then, momma me noticed her little eyes squeezed shut, her little limbs relaxed and floating in the water. Her hair bombing about. I remembered lying there letting the water drain out around me at her age. The feeling of total immersion in the moment. The water tickling my skin as it sunk beneath me.
I got to share in that moment both as my current self and as myself at a time before clocks mattered. I remembered it all so vividly like I was five-years-old, and yet I was truly present in the moment with her.
I may still be on the path of learning patience, mindfulness and how to live in the moment. But kids are born with these abilities. Abilities that most adults have a hard time relearning. Kids are chalk full of strategies that reduce stress. They are amazing little creatures who see the world in amazing ways.
Sure, it’s cute to see my daughters use my catch phrases or facial expressions… but there are someways in which they are perfect already… no fastest known times, no agendas, just feeling the joy in life.