With every spirit day that happens at my children's school this year, I realize that for my daughter, this one will be her last. She will graduate fifth grade in the Spring and head to Middle School next year. She is ten, and has been at the school longer than she will be at any one school in her future. She has many close friends, and a comfort level in the school, as it has been her second home for quite some time now. This year I am watching her enjoy every last second of school. She participates in every extra event that is available to her, and she and her peers walk around as upper-class(wo)men this year with a pride that is well deserved.
She will be ready for middle school, and it is no surprise that I might not be ready to send her. The flip side of being a emotional, sensitive person for me, is that it also brings over-thinking, and an ability to be overly sentimental. Change is good, healthy and necessary. I just feel like time, since having children has moved faster than I have ever felt it move prior. I never once in my 29th year, said, "Oh, my twenties have flown by" because they definitely didn't. My husband reminds me that I need to figure out a way to see the bright side to these big changes. I am happy and proud of my children when they graduate to the next stage, but I just also mourn the loss of the end of a chapter.
Having older parents also reminds me daily of the passing of time. My parents are slowing down, and we are no longer able to do the kind of things as a family that we used to. There is some element of denial for me with this. I keep thinking when this ailment passes we can take that trip together, or when she feels better she can play outside with my kids again. The reality is the opposite. They won't get better, they will get worse. Watching this happen to loved ones makes it really difficult to not feel existential thoughts. It does make me savor every second, and makes me want to sit still a bit more.
My last few months have been so busy that I am having a hard time believing Spring is almost here. There have been swarms of beautiful painted lady butterflies swarming the streets here. It is unlike anything I have ever seen before. It stopped me in my tracks, made me realize the turning of the season, and provided me with a moment with my children to step out of ourselves and look around. It was magical. We may not get swarms of butterflies everyday, but I am sure I can find some daily miracles that can make me stop and look around each day. My parents are coming for a visit next week and I am sure all of us all together will find a lot of those moments.
Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Mindfulness is the practice of being in this moment — right here, right now. I teach children in school on this subject. I do breathing exercises, I have them close their eyes to focus on their surroundings, I have them slow down and pay attention to details. I worked with a group of six and seven year old this morning, and it was a particularly challenging morning for them to focus. I came home and realized I am having the same difficulty focusing myself. As I write this, my phone is distracting me with emails and texts, I am having a smoothie between typing, and my head is all over the place. I am by no means practicing what I preach.
I am feeling a bit overwhelmed lately. I have a big event I am planning, my schedule feels a bit busier than usual, I am making lists but I am putting the lists in so many different places, so I am having trouble figuring out what to do first. I am trying to balance being productive while also knowing when to chill out. I definitely don't know how to do the latter so easily, but I suppose that is why mindfulness is often referred to as a "practice." Time management is not my strongest skill, so I have started to look in to ways to help me, like timers, or apps, but I am not the most tech savvy so when I start messing with a time saving app, I lose time trying to figure it out.
Since acknowledging my head is spinning doesn't seem to stop the thoughts flying around, I will try to get some of them out here. I don't sleep enough. I need to start the washing machine. I wonder if Target will take back a pair of pants my husband bought without a receipt. I don't really like going to ask that. My lips are so chapped. I hope I am not coming down with something. I need to get groceries, and make some work calls before I pick up the kids, and I can't figure out which of those two things to do first. What should I make for dinner tonight? What else do I need at the store while I am out? I'm so tired, I wonder if I could squeeze in a 20 minute nap before picking the kids up at school.
Now that I got that all out, I will start knocking them down one by one. If nothing else today I am going to try and remind myself that I can only really do one thing well at a time. Even if it means focusing right here right now for a few minutes at a time, that is my goal for today. If those first graders can do it, I can too. Granted, they don't have email accounts or phone numbers, but I am up for a challenge.