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YO MAMA: Finding beauty in the little things



My two-year-old son barrels towards me with a rock in each hand. It’s a mild day in mid-March and we are going for a walk. So far, we’ve been out for about ten minutes and are still on the driveway. There is lots to stop and see, even though we have already traversed this route a hundred times.

“More!” my son exclaims, presenting his treasures.

He is saying “more” because the stroller is already filled with rocks, sticks and other things he’s found along the way. The stroller is primarily a transportation device for bringing the items home where they are immediately forgotten. 

The two rocks he’s found are actually quite striking. One is milky white with wispy cinnamon-coloured swirls in it. The other is jagged and grey, shaped like a little mountain. He stashes them in the stroller and heads off again.

A typical walk these days consists of spontaneous zig-zagging, off-roading, random, excited pointing and lots of bending down to look at old leaves, dead bugs and shiny bits of roadside candy bar wrappers. It’s not much for cardio, but it’s sure entertaining.

There is so much to see when you are only two years old and only three feet off the ground.

My son notices so many little details that I would otherwise overlook.

He draws my attention to ladybugs, bird feathers, and quite literally hundreds of pebbles. We must stop to watch each airplane and flock of geese that moves across the sky.

Through his eyes I have slowed down and started to notice many incredible still-life images: the contrast of that red ladybug against a blue chair, how a fallen feather’s vanes mimic the tendrils of grass it has landed in, and how pebbles are like snowflakes — no two are alike. The colours, shapes and compositions of these little frames found by my toddler are downright gorgeous. 

The other day, he found the most delicate yellow and white flowers, each no larger than a thumbnail. The stuff of fairy gardens. Into the stroller they went along with a particularly ornate stick and a pinecone.

When I later emptied out the stroller, the beauty of his collection took my breath away. I’ve enjoyed many mountain views and ocean vistas in my life, but I’ve never before noticed how much beauty there is at the microscopic-level in my own backyard.

It’s easy to lose sight of the everyday beauty around us, especially amid all the endless loop of kitchen clean-up, dirty diapers and laundry. But if you slow down long enough to notice the little details, you’d be amazed at what you might see.

— Charlotte Helston gave birth to her first child, a rambunctious little boy, in the spring of 2021. Yo Mama is her weekly reflection on the wild, exhilarating, beautiful, messy, awe-inspiring journey of parenthood.


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