11/07/2013 02:37 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Advice From a 6-Year-Old: How to Slow Down and Enjoy the Adventure

My son and I didn't have school today. Waking up late, snuggling for a while in bed, we enjoyed a slow and relaxing morning. When we decided to head out of the house, I started to rush him to put on his shoes. He gave me an exasperated look and said, "Do we really have to rush with the shoes today? I like to take my time; the shoes go on better that way."


"Of course we don't have to rush today. Let's be slow."

Even as the words escaped my lips, I knew I didn't REALLY mean it. I don't know how to go slow, and so, as he struggled with the laces, I struggled to not jump in and just-get-them-tied-already!

Shoes finally on, many changes of jacket-no, sweater-no, shirt-no, jacket- no, yellow fleece later, we were sorted. And so we set off for our adventure.

At first, I walked at my normal (rushed) pace, until Edem protested with foot stomps and yellow fleeced arms crossed over his chest: "I. Won't. Rush. Today!" Clearly, I needed to adjust.

Moving in our adjusted, and at first uncomfortable for me pace, slowly, we explored our new neighborhood, walking down streets we have never before visited, admiring Halloween decorations and fall foliage displays. Edem took notice of the beautiful door on one house, and I commented on the amazing porch on another. Hand in hand, we skipped, and sometimes hopped, our way around our new community. Without a clear destination in mind, we relished our roles as foreigners in a new land.

"Next year," I said, "this will all be so familiar, we won't appreciate it anymore."

"Don't be ridiculous!" Edem exclaimed, the new word tumbling clumsily out of his mouth. "THIS," his arms opened wide as he spun in his blue rain boots, "will alllllwaaaayyyyssss be AWESOME!"

And so we slowly skipped on, looking for more awesomeness that will always be there to be appreciated. Edem became my photo director.

"Picture this!" he would exclaim, directing the lens of my camera to a new thing worthy of being captured. An orange flower, a rose, a purple weed, spiderwebs strewn from a gate. The ancient car whose top was peeling off, and the red bicycle leaning against a gate.


We stopped into a precious café, where Edem promptly ordered two star cookies. "To go," I replied. "Here," Edem countered. And so we sat. While he licked the red and blue sugar grains off each cookie, I took in the fine details of this exquisite little dining spot, read through the menu twice and snapped a few pictures as the chef turned the dining room into his cooking spot.

Cookies savored and finally gone, I stood to leave. "Not YET! I need a pen."

"A pen?" A PEN? What now, I thought.

"I need a PEN! We cannot leave until I do this."

Sigh. Groan. A Pen. "But we are missing the sun! We need to get to the park!"

"Mom, I need a pen."

Digging around in my deep bag, I found a purple pen. I wasn't permitted to look as he wrote, taking careful time with each letter, sounding a few sounds out as he wrote new words. What seemed like ages later, Edem was finished.

"There you go, Mom! Something special for our slow adventure day! A love note for you!"


My heart swelled and simultaneously shattered.

My son, the one whom I am always ushering from place to place, is not one to be rushed. When allowed to move through this world in his pace, given time to think and explore, he flourishes, and teaches me to see the beauty that surrounds us.

Slowly, we meandered to the park. Sometimes skipping, sometimes hopping; sometimes taking a new road that we knew wasn't the most direct path.

"This is nice, Mom. I'm proud of you; you are learning to enjoy our adventure."

Yet again, I have learned a lesson from my son. My teacher. My slow and deliberate enjoyer of life.