Sometimes You Just Have To Stop And Look At The Ducks


“Mommy! Look at the ducks!”

My 3-year-old was tugging on my hand. We were at Walt Disney World. My mom and dad were racing ahead to catch the boat to Hollywood Studios which was just pulling up to the dock. I was torn. I wanted to keep up with my parents but I wanted to honor my daughter’s thrill at seeing the ducks.

Waving wildly at my daughter and I, my parents won. I tugged gently on my daughter’s hand and said, “Honey, we can look later. The boat is here now. We have to catch up with Noni and Papa.”  I urged her forward.

She stopped. She let go of my hand. She stamped her little foot and said, “But I just wanted to show you the ducks!”

My daughter won. I waved at my parents to go ahead without us. (They begrudgingly waited.) And I stopped to look at the ducks.

It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of Disney World and the sense of urgency to see and do everything. The same is true for the grocery store. Or for writing that next blog post. Or the sense of urgency to get that mountain of laundry folded. (Okay. I admit. I’ve never felt that particular sense of urgency but I’ve heard that some of you out there have.)  When I can’t fall asleep at night I try to figure out how many days you would need to “see and do everything” at Disney World and I fall asleep before I can come up with a worthy number. Disney World is full of things to do and see. It’s the greatest marketing ploy around, creating so much to do you just have to come back. And real life is the same way. There will always be another load of laundry to fold.

And so, when everyone is in a rush to catch the next bus, someone in our family will invariably say, “Hey! Look at the ducks!” Or, while navigating through the Christmas crowds at the mall my husband will grab my hand and say, “Look! I see some ducks.” It’s our cue to slow down. Savor. Enjoy each moment.

It’s a lesson we’ve carried beyond Walt Disney World.

It’s a lesson that bears repeating.

Whether you are at Walt Disney World or the mall or buried in laundry, remember, you can’t possibly see and do everything. Take a moment or two. Slow down. Breath. People watch. Ask your child a silly question while she still wants to talk to you. Hold your child’s hand a little tighter before he’s a teenager and rushing off to the football game without you.

Time will fly by fast enough.

No need to hurry it along.


Filed under Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Sometimes You Just Have To Stop And Look At The Ducks

  1. First time at Disney, we were exhausted after 4 days trying to see everything.
    Second time, we left plenty of time to relax.

    I’m with your daughter – always take that moment!

  2. Yes to cherishing all those ordinary moments. Taking time to pause and relish simple pleasures is a reminder we all need. Thanks, Jane.

  3. This post filled me with such a sense of melancholy (though I know that wasn’t your intent). I didn’t slow down to look at the ducks and now realize how much of my son’s childhood I missed. I was so busy rushing and just trying to get through the days that they flew by unnticed. If only I could go back in time. I’d sit down to look at ducks.

  4. Lovely. When I was growing up, my parents were obsessed with being on time. I vowed when I had children of my own, we wouldn’t be slaves to clocks and schedules. As a family, we love unscheduled time, that’s when all the best adventures happen.

  5. Children know best don’t they. I good line…look at the ducks….wish I had had it when I was growing up! Thanks for reminding me what is important even now….with no children…it’s still good to look at the ducks.

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