I am not a detail oriented person. I can easily see the big picture, the potential, and the desired outcome before I begin a project, but the details make me feel like I am wading through peanut butter up to my waist: heavy and overwhelmed. I want to get from point A to point B in the most productive and efficient manner and, most of the time, the details are not very important to me.
Perhaps I have become so enamored by the idea of small and simple things lately because I often fail to allow myself time to notice them amidst the momentum of things that compete for my attention on a daily basis. My big picture mentality often crowds out these small details because they seem less pressing and rather insignificant. But, when I take a few moments to step back and notice how the details fit in to the big picture, I realize that there is nothing insignificant about them.
The details offer incredible insight that I don’t want to miss.
As I was looking back through some old pictures a few days ago, I started to notice the small details that make up my children’s personalities and physical characteristics, how they have been evident from the time they were tiny, and how they manifest themselves so much the same today.
This boy still sticks out his tongue in utter concentration, just like he did when he was two-years-old (upper left corner), and he still has the same adorable dimples and pointy chin.
I’m glad I captured his determination when he learned to climb out of his crib (the only one of my kids to ever do that), because it reminds me that his determined nature came with him into this world.
I love this picture of Kate doing her first-grade homework in her dress-up clothes, because it reminds me that she has always been imaginative and creative.
I also want to remember how she sometimes she gets lost in the sea of blankets and stuffed animals that she surrounds herself with. It is such a simple thing, but also provides so much insight in to her comfort-seeking personality.
I can’t forget how Elise always carried a baby in her arms, even when she was just a toddler. That might explain why now, as a teenager, she hunts down new mothers and begs to hold their babies. She has always been a mother at heart.
I will never forget this outfit. It reminds me about how, after months of daily fights because she wanted to wear her favorite outfit every day, I finally bought her five of the same favorite outfit, and she happily wore it daily for several months until she outgrew that phase. That reminds me that she was particular about her clothes long before she was a teenager, and that her strong-will was not something that just popped up recently.
Andrew has always been silly:
And Jordan has always been more serious: (This is probably my all-time favorite picture of him because his soft smile highlights his more serious nature. The cheesy smiles that he tends to give for the camera just aren’t him.)
His serious and laser-focused nature lends itself well to the hours of practice that he continues to put in to developing his musical talent. Although these pictures were taken years ago, I still see that same intense focus every time he sits down to play.
Looking back at these pictures has been a good reminder for me to pay attention to the small things that my kids do every day. Those things give such insight in to who they were before they came to me, who they are now, and who they have the potential to become. Their quirky little habits and tendencies tell me a whole lot about their unique gifts and personalities, and how I can better parent them as a result of their determined, creative, strong-willed, motherly, silly, serious, and focused natures.
Like I said…the details offer incredible insight that I don’t want to miss.
This post is part of a 31-day series about small and simple things. You can read see the rest of the series here.