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Come, Look!

Yesterday evening I was taking out the
trash in our driveway when I discovered, upon moving the trash can,
a very large, fat, fuzzy black caterpillar. Without even thinking,
I yelled, “Cora, Maddie! Come and look, quick!” The
girls came scrambling out and stopped, awestruck, at the sight of
the fat guy. My mom came out with them and wrapped him around a
stick to move him out of harm’s way; the girls followed like
puppies and watched contemplatively as he worked his way down into
some vegetation. They debated where he was in the “Hungry
Caterpillar” timeline – Monday or Saturday? – and
then began digging through the dirt, happily collecting small bits
of flora for their own stuffed animals to eat for supper. And
suddenly we’d gone from two girls sitting desultorily around
the house after dinner to two intrepid nature explorers, busy at

I’ve been reading a book called
target="_blank">The Ministry of Motherhood
, and one
whole chapter is devoted to such moments – to teaching your
children to stop and witness the natural world, to take notice of
what’s around them and revel in God’s natural miracles.
I like to think I’m on the top of the bell curve at this one;
I grew up in a family that taught me to stop and witness moments of
random beauty or excitement, and have loved passing that on to my
daughters. Just a few days ago my dad called me, excited that he
had some baby hawks in his backyard, to let me know he’d
videotaped their antics on the lawn and posted it on Facebook for
me to see. So I come by this honestly, I admit. But since reading
the book I’ve become much more deliberate about the process.

How often do we drive down the highway and notice the sunset only
because of the annoying glare it causes on our windshield? As I
squinted into the sun one evening, I was just about to crab when
Maddie said, “Oh, Mom, isn’t that a beautiful sunset?
God sure did a great job on that one.” How can I complain
about that?

Our love of discovery and our desire to make sure attention has
been paid to all things can make for some slow walks, I can tell
you that. Walking three blocks to the pool can take us almost
fifteen minutes, as we stop and look at each tree, gather fallen
flower blossoms, freeze as a bunny scampers across the path, and
debate whether or not the neighbor’s cactus has visibly grown
since the day before. Sometimes I want to yell, “Just get in
the freakin’ wagon and stop gathering your stupid
‘treasures’ and move it! Eyes forward!”

But I don’t, and I’m glad I hold back. I’m happy
they still find joy in the small things, and don’t take such
beauty for granted. Getting lost in a strange part of town can lead
to discovering a new, awesome city park. Running out of time to do
an errand may mean five extra minutes to explore a nearby creekbed.
I try to go with the flow, and look with open eyes.

And on those days when I hear an excited “Mama, come
look!” I know it’s all worth it.


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