Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Moments of Slow

Sometimes, I think back to the time I instinctively knew how to eat slow - a time before grade school and thirty minute lunch breaks, fifteen of which were spent in line. I remember summer and how I whittled away the time - time being the true gift of summer. Occasionally, I would tuck myself behind the two-story dollhouse made by my father. It sat in the corner of our living room, centered between the light of two windows (one near each corner of the perpendicular angle of the house). During the day, the sun marked time on our living room floor, sunbeams heating the carpet were I would curl myself around a book and a bowl of apples. Those were afternoons of time for slice upon slice and page turn after page turn, afternoons where no one rushed you to "get on with it" because, somewhere, a bell was about to chime.

Here we are, decades later, during the season of chiming bells. While there is much to do, this year I am attempting to not get swept up in too much sound and fury, to remember that instinct for slow. So we're taking our cue from the blanket of snow outside our backdoor and remembering that the land lying fallow serves the purpose to nourish, enrich, and prepare for the year to come.

A few ways we've incorporated a bit of slow into our week:

Spending a snowed in morning trying out a new recipe - this week, the Buckwheat Crepes from Lisa Barnes' Cooking for Baby. Nathan thought these were fantastic with blackberry jam. Audrey was not so sold, but had I filled them with strawberries and whipped cream, I imagine the outcome would be different. I couldn't help but be taken back to summers and sleepovers of my youth, when after spending the night in sleeping bags in her outdoor clubhouse, my friend Lauren would whip up a batch of crepes (always from memory) that we stuffed with strawberries and whipped cream. Each time she served them with a side of cheesy scrambled eggs that she cooked in the microwave. Some foods, no matter how many times you eat them (or how young the chef) always feel special.

Changing up the routine. This December, when we run across a "slow" day with nowhere to be and a short to-do list, I move bath time to the afternoon and toss both babes in for some extended water play (I figure this is the one time of year I can do this without worrying that Audrey is going to run outside and cover herself in garden dirt as soon as we're finished). This serves several purposes. The kids, who normally have separate bath times, think it's a special treat. Since I'm not worried about making an eight 'o clock bedtime, they can play as long as they want. In the evening, when Jason is home, we have the gift of some extra family time, which is perfect for those nights we have a little decorating or game-playing or seasonal merry-making to do that shouldn't be rushed. And, for a few minutes, as splashing water and laughter fill the air, it feels just a bit like the days of summer.

Taking a few minutes to enjoy the best small pleasures of the season. Even at times when I should be wrapping gifts or baking cookies or shoveling the drive. There are always five minutes for a cup of hot chocolate. Besides, my kids don't care what the gifts are wrapped in, and one day, I won't remember, either.

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