My big to-do list was running through my head. Even though I was calculatingly watching the clock, this was a welcomed distraction because we all really enjoy being outside. The dogs were overwhelmed with anticipation, as I personally have rarely taken them, except in the truck, since my jaw surgery nine weeks ago.
I bundled us up (the humans, that is) and sat my warm cutie in her sleigh. I stuffed the leashes under the cover of the sleigh where my daughter sticks her feet. She immediately protested. Usually daddy carries them around his neck and so I thought she didn't want the leashes there. While she cried I told her they would be okay there and hurriedly got us outside. Once we started she smiled.
I pulled the sleigh through the fresh snow with the two dogs galloping around us and nipping at each other in excitement. Damp snowflakes glistened on our hats and slippery ice threatened from below the blanket of snow on the ground. My daughter sat quietly. Almost pensively. Then, a block from home she softly called out.
I stopped walking, as I could barely hear her through my knit hat and the hood of my jacket. "Yes, dear?"
She pulled her legs from under the cover and stuck her feet out from inside her snow pants. Cautiously, she stated, "I need boots". Snow fell and stuck to her socked feet.
I threw my head back and laughed. I'd put her shoes on the wrong feet many times. I've lost a half a pair a few times on outings. But I have never forgot them all together. Especially when she was trying to tell me.
I could argue that she was fussing and hard to understand. But it was more likely a case of not listening than it was a case of not communicating her point. I thought she wanted the leashes off her feet. And so that is what I heard. She actually wanted, no, needed, boots on her feet.
We turned around, much to the dogs' confusion as this looked like the shortest walk ever. We retrieved her boots and were therefore ready to go back, this time all the way to the end of the road to play in the snow. The dogs were ecstatic that we were trying again.
I would probable say one of my biggest pet peeves is feeling unheard. And I know, just like when I misunderstood my daughter, the lack of attention is usually not intentional. People filter words through their busy minds and automatically misfile comments. Potential conversations flutter into the air without any follow through.
So often, something I don't feel too passionately about is taken too seriously, or something I want to concentrate on is pushed aside. The everyday casualties of living in this busy world with too many distractions for imperfect people.
I try thoroughly to listen to my daughter. Of course, at two years old I often have to play a guessing game. Sometimes I get a bullseye. Many times I have no clue. But in the end, I hope she'll know I genuinely tried and that I care.
The boots incident was a reminder that failing to listen is quite easy to do. Even when the other person is raising their voice.