Monday, June 04, 2007


With the residue of a Jennifer Lauck workshop pulsing through me, life took a firm and determined grip on me upon re-entry. My mind called to the duty of work and parenting, but glimpses of the faces and the teachings like a photo scrolling screen saver in the corners. Whistles of Corrine Bailey Rae “Three Little Birds, sat on my doorstep, and they told me I don’t have to worry…” pass through my busy mind like fresh spring breezes.

Much to learn and ponder and digest, but for now, the much to do calls louder. The weekend looming is filled; adding one drop more will cause the bulge over the rim to spill down the sides and I know that I must put the digestion of workshop morsels on pause for now. I zip down the hall in pursuit of a missing shin guard, bending along the way to empty the dryer in hopes of finding the green soccer socks. I lift the green laundry basket high over my daughter’s head, swooshing hips to the wall as I pass her in the doorway. Centering the basket on a kitchen stool, I move to the sink to put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher.

“Mom, are you ready for a life lesson?” Cadence asks, the top of her head suddenly inches from my elbow. Her head is down, eyes staring intently at something in her hands. I step wide around her to grab the sauté pan off of the stove, stopping in my return trip to the sink to avoid stepping on her as she drifts across the floor, unaware of the mother ricochet happening around her.

“Sure honey.” I answer rinsing the pan and lowering it to the bottom rack. I reach for the box of dishwasher soap, prying it open with my thumbnail.

“You have to look.” she answers, knowing she has only a small share of my attention.

“OK, one minute,” I say pouring the little granules into the soap dispenser and snapping it shut. I kick my right foot back and flick it sideways, sending the dishwasher door shut. “Just let me finish this; we have to leave soon.” I say, pulling the spray hose to rinse breakfast bits from the sink and into the drain basket.

I lift the basket filled with dripping bits of bread and eggs between my fingers, cupping my left hand under as I lunge across the room to the trash can and bang the contents away.

“Mom,” Cadence says in a way that drags mom into three syllables, each one pointing out that I am not really listening.

“OK”, I say, replacing the basket and giving the sink one more spray. I move to join her at the kitchen counter. “I am ready.” Cadence smiles and nods once, dimple announcing that she is satisfied. She sets a clear plastic medicine cup on the counter, its pasty contents smell of baby powder. She holds the cup still and says, “Put your finger in very slowly.”

“What is it?” I ask as I gently poke my index finger into the cup, the cool, moist contents easing up around my finger.

“Baby powder and water,” she answers, “Now, slooow-ly pull your finger back out.” My index finger retreats, a small amount of powdery residue remaining. Cadence nods again, pleased with the results. “Now push your finger in fast!”

I push down quickly into the cup; the soft, wet mixture becoming instantly hard. I wiggle and force my way into the cup until my finger is to the bottom. “Wow!” I say, surprised at the effort it took.

“Now hard and fast pull your finger back out!” She says, eyes gleaming with excitement. She knowingly holds tight to the cup as my finger stays embedded resisting the pull; the soft, wet powder like dried cement. I tug and eventually my finger comes free.

“OK, so the reason this is a life lesson,” she says, glowing with the wisdom of ages, “is because this is what life is like. When you go hard and fast and pushing and rushing, things get hard. But if you take your time and go slow, things go more smoothly.”

“Who taught you this? I ask, feeling myself melt a little.

“Oh, well the powder and water we learned last year in science. But I was thinking about life and taking your time and this science is a good life lesson.”

Later at the dinner table, Cadence offers the life lesson to her father with equally satisfying results. “It’s like when you draw a picture," she explains, hands forward palms up. "If you rush and just get it done, it won’t be that good, but if you take your time and fill in all the details, it will be amazing!” I hear Jennifer’s voice echo in the corners of my mind where I hold the workshop wisdom, “Love your details, take time with the details, God lives in the details…”

I think about the teachers Cadence has encountered in her eight years. They have all complained that she does not pay attention:
Easily distracted
Doesn’t complete her work on time
Needs to be refocused
Goes off into her own world

Reading these comments to her from a report card last year, she dropped her head and said “yeah, that happens to me a lot. I just can’t help it Mom, the world is full of so many amazing things that when I see them or think about them, I just can’t stop!”

Cadence lives for the details. She came to teach us about life, I think to myself, “If you take your time and fill in all the details, it will be amazing!”


Terry Whitaker said...

I love the life lesson--Cadence needs to come to my house.

But I am equally impressed that you get your morning dishes done before you actually leave the house!

Nancy said...

thanks Terry and if I were smart, I'd just leave it at that...truth be told, we'd already been to dance rehearsal and back so the impressive moring dish washing was early afternoon before soccer:)

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Way to put it on the body, Nancy! Fabulous details! Fabulous daughter. Fabulous YOU!

Jenny Rough said...

Beautiful post! What an amazing daughter

Jerri said...

Thank you for writing this story, Nancy. It's beautiful and true and a great reminder. The world is full of amazing stuff, including this daughter of yours.