Jennifer's books

Goodbye, Vitamin
American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land
Mrs. Hemingway
Poetry Will Save Your Life: A Memoir
The Princess Diarist
Watch Me Disappear
Hello, Sunshine
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success
A Man Called Ove
The Heirs
Our Souls at Night
White Fur
Confessions of a Domestic Failure
The Map That Leads to You
The Little French Bistro
Love the Wine You're With
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore
The Party
New Boy

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Slow Down, Mama

“Slow down, Mama. You walking too fast.”

My two-year-old daughter clearly said that to me on the day of her big girl outing.

I had taken her on a special shopping trip because she achieved a “big girl” status by succeeding in potty training. We went to a store specifically to let her purchase big girl nail polish.

I made a point to let her walk through the store holding my hand rather than putting her in the seat of the grocery cart. It was a day to make her feel grown up, so this was one small step.

She proudly smiled and waved at every stranger she passed. She excitedly told a few, “I a big girl now! I getting a special treat!”

We found the children’s cosmetic section. She proceeded to try to convince me she needed every chapstick, lip gloss, nail polish and body glitter available. I vetoed the body glitter immediately. “No way am I buying you body glitter, Savannah,” I said out loud. A little old lady caught my eye and chuckled and gave me a thumb’s up.

I carried her set of new chapsticks and nail polishes as we walked back through the store and up to the checkout aisle.

On this particular day, we actually run into someone we know. She rushes up to them and proudly announces, “I go potty like a big girl and I get lipstick and finger nail polish!” Everyone in the store hears her. I should be a little embarrassed, but I’m not.

We go up to the self-checkout line and quickly ring up her small purchases. I let her hold the bag.

Then, we leave. Our adventure is over, so I start to rush back to the car to move on to our next errand. And that’s when she clearly says, “Slow down, Mama. You walking too fast.”

It hits me. Not only is my little girl speaking in a way that is understandable, she is telling me something she needs me to hear. Something I need to hear.

Because it is true. I spend much of my time walking too fast. I am constantly wishing my children were just a little bit bigger. A little bit older. A little bit more capable of doing it on their own.

On this day, two years ago. The days are long, but the years are short. 

I was never a kid person. I taught teenagers. That is what I know.

But, I have been given an opportunity to know my own little people. Not to rush them to the next phase, but to help them understand the phase they are in. Whether I like it or not.

And let’s be honest. Some toddler days are not ones I like. But, then there are so many days when toddlers remind you of what needs to be seen. Like walking too fast.

So, that day, I slowed down. I took the time to let her appreciate holding her bag of big girl cosmetics and holding mommy’s hand rather than being seat belted in a grocery cart. I took the time to let her giver herself a manicure and give me one too rather than trying to do it quickly and without any mistakes.

It was the best manicure I have ever had.

She is too young to remember this day, but I will. I will remember the day she told her mom exactly what she needed and precisely what I needed to hear.

I will try to remember it the next time I wish she was just a little more independent because one day she will be and there will be no need for me anymore.

Thank God, today is not that day. 

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