My best parenting moment of many days are that moment after dinner when there’s 60 minutes until I’ve reached the finish line as a parent. It’s the moment you realize you’re almost there. The sweet bliss is about to arrive where these kids you love with every ounce of your being will go to bed. Well, they’ll be in their rooms. Eh. You’ll see them a few more times, but technically, you’re off duty.
That moment. It’s glorious.
And sometimes I spend those last 60 minutes still a little checked out. I’m tired. It’s been a day.
But sometimes I put everything down, I look at them in the eyes and say, “What do you want to do for one hour?!” Tonight, they said, “play a game!” So we played their new Lightning McQueen board game for awhile. Then the oldest one announced, “let’s play tag!” I started counting, they squealed and ran away.
I found them in short order and we played again. When it was my youngest’s turn to count, I ran to the play room and hid behind a very thin gray curtain. I literally stood behind the curtain and didn’t move. I figured this hiding spot wouldn’t last twenty seconds.
Much to my surprise, he ran past me once. Twice. Three times. He found his sister and she skipped into the playroom and sat down near me. I whispered and she laughed when she saw me. She told her brother in her sing song voice, “Mom’s in here, but I’m not telling you where.”
He continued to look everywhere for me! I was so sure he could see me. After a good ten minutes, he finally lifted up the curtain and saw his mom. A big grin spread across his little face, “I found you, Mom!”
I had a great ten minutes to stand there with my face pressed up against a very cold window with snow on the other side of it. There was some time to think and here’s what I noticed. It’s not rocket science, but I needed the reminder. Maybe you do too.
So much of what we look for is hidden in plain sight.
Love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, purpose, patience, new perspective, friendship, clarity, peace, joy, rest, understanding.
It’s here. All around us. But we keep looking everywhere else for it.
Sometimes I think I’ll find it at the store. I’m 100% sure that new notebook or fun T-shirt will satisfy what I was craving. Target fixes all our problems, right?
Or it’s definitely those chocolate chip cookies in the freezer. One of those bad boys in the microwave for thirty seconds and I’d feel happy.
Or some days it’s definitely my phone. Just one more check on Insta, FB or Snapchat, and I’ll finally feel content.
It feels good for the moment. Maybe even a few moments. But then it’s just a plastic bag on the counter, a pan in the sink and thirty minutes I lost forever.
I still feel a vague sense of discontent, dissatisfaction, annoyance, anxiety, unrest, isolation, anger or confusion.
If what I’m really looking for is hidden in plain sight, then where is it?
It’s disguised in things that look boring or simple at first. It’s hidden in quiet, rest, stillness. It’s hidden in erasing a few things off my calendar. It’s hidden in the smile and hug of a loved one. It’s hidden in the playfulness of a beloved pet. It’s hidden in the music that invites your body to the kitchen dance floor. It’s hidden in the good healthy food your body craves. It’s hidden in putting work down or listening to my body. It’s hidden outside in nature, all over the place.
It’s even hidden in the mirror when you pause long enough to really look at yourself. See those eyes, that smile, that face, that body that carries you through your life.
So much of what we look for is hidden in plain sight. Love is there. Keep playing hide and seek. Love wants you to find it.