Last night as I settled on my pillow the vision of my sons when they were little crept into my mind. There they stood, as tall as my thigh, arms outstretched for me to pick them up. Sometimes they needed to be closer to my face to tell me their most important ideas and observations. Sometimes they needed a view from a higher position. Sometimes they needed a snuggle and sometimes their little legs just couldn’t carry them anymore.

At sixteen and thirteen, it’s been a long time since my sons stretched chubby little arms out for me to pick them up. I’m now the shortest member of the family and though they don’t pick me up, I often look to them to hand me things that are out of my reach.

Maybe what summoned this image was my walk through the woods yesterday.  I’d spent the gorgeous spring day sitting in my office and was eager to move my body. After coming home, getting everyone fed and a couple of chores checked off the list, I headed out for a walk on the trails. This was to be an hour-long power-walk complete with raised heart rate, sweat and a little private mind/body time.

About thirty minutes into the walk, my thirteen year old, Jory rode his bike down to meet me.  He found a place further up the trail, stashed his bike and roared out at me from behind a tree. He thinks this is hilarious.

I was initially delighted to see him, but in the back of my mind I knew what it meant; no more tracking the heart rate, no more sweat.  For a little while we kept a pace, but eventually Jory gasped. I looked up to see him staring at the sunset shining through the pink blossoms of a crab apple tree and then reflecting off the lake.

“That’s awesome,” he whispered.

When we got to the end of the trail, rather than turning and sprinting back up the hill, we sat on a bench and watched the sunset, debating the merits of high lake levels and low lake levels which are more conducive to beach walks. We decided to everything there is a season.

On the walk back, he told me his two most awesome moments in those woods and we watched a June bug mining minerals in poop.

So, no, they don’t need me to pick them up any more. But they do need me to slow down and hear their most important thoughts and observations. They still need different viewpoints and snuggles and sometimes the weight of their world needs extra support.

I’m glad I still have time to stop and carry my children in the ways they need now.

**In light of upcoming Mother’s and Father’s Day I decided to “muse” about mindful parenthood. For other articles about parenting, visit Family and Home Network