Last night we went to dinner at a local restaurant. My husband decided to linger a little longer inside, while I took my daughter outside. As I sat down, a large patch of green grass stared at us, an uncommon site in the desert. My daughter asked, “Momma, look at the grass. Can I walk in it?” Even before I said yes, she slipped her flip-flops off and started running fast across the grass.
I watched her run and a few times, she flapped her arms, and yelled, “I am free.” This statement and her laughter, the sheer giddiness she felt from the strands of grass, created a feeling of envy inside of me. Observing her, I noticed that she really immersed herself in the night air and absorbed what tickled her feet. And I sensed a lightness in her movements. Of course, I understand. She is a five year old, gliding between wonder and tiny speckles of knowledge. She doesn’t know enough. Yet. Freedom is a word she cannot define, but she lives it.
And I realize just how familiar the definition is to me, but I am unable to embrace it. There is always a but, an asterick, or a if this, then that cloud over my own actions. Sometimes I wonder, is my own overthinking preventing me from fully embracing the present? Is that what prevents me from really immersing myself into freedom? I want to hold on to so much, so many moments in my own life, that it prevents me from letting go. And the combination of overthinking, holding on, hampers me from really tasting the freedom that my daughter exhibits and feels with such intensity.
It is also the need to prepare that inhibits me from discovering the kind of freedom that is so second nature to my little girl. I am a habitual planner, constantly looking at my to-do list like it is some sacred religious text, and checking my calendar so I don’t miss something. There are not many moments in my own life that aren’t a result of a planned activity or scripted. Perhaps it is a result of our own expectations or forgetting that the best moments come when we aren’t so mesmerized by the planning of them.
For me, the green grass isn’t going to appear because I am too prepared to really feel the freedom of unexpected moments.
Image by Nedko