Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is a favorite get away for our summer days. Since our family has a season pass, we can visit for the day or for the morning. No matter the amount of time we decide to spend, my girls always request to ride the carousel. Audrey likes all of the mounts and will pick and choose according to her mood. Eve rides the giraffe who she has named, “Violet.” Riding the carousel creates a cooling breeze on a hot, humid day and waving at mom on every rotation makes them giggle. The carousel is a must do at every zoo visit, and we always ride more than once.
On a recent ride on the carousel, Audrey called out a different lament to me on every rotation. As she came around the first time, she called, “Mom. I’m thirsty.” I nodded and waved. Second time around, she called, “I want a bottle of water.” I waved. Third time, “How about we get ice cream when we’re done?” Again, more waving. Then, “Can I have soda and an ice cream?” I waved, but this time my enthusiasm was shot. I wondered, “Why can’t she ride the carousel and enjoy the moment? Why is she focused on what she doesn’t have rather than what she does? Why is she so worried about what comes next?
I found myself wondering why I was so annoyed with Audrey’s angst, and I realized that sometimes I create angst of my own. There are days when volunteering at school, arranging playdates, running errands, cooking meals, and teaching Sunday school are not the ride I had expected. I find myself calling out for something different, more affirming, or a change from the daily business of being a mom and a volunteer. Audrey’s inability to just ride the carousel and let the breeze move frustrated me because I too forget to live in the moment and let the Spirit move as it will.
In Snow Falling on Snow, Robert Wicks writes, “It is very easy to fall into the rhythm of everyday life. It is important we pay attention; we are alert to what is happening around us and we slow down the frames of life.” Wicks expresses what I was feeling about Audrey. I wanted her to enjoy the goodness and not miss it. I want to enjoy the goodness and not miss it. I struggle to slow down the frames of the sameness of my life. I want to pay attention and to embrace God’s work and presence, even when all I am doing is riding the same carousel again.
Tammy Abee Blom is an ordained Baptist minister, regular contributor to BWIM’s blog, mother of two amazing daughters, teacher for children’s Sunday School, and lives in Columbia, South Carolina.