Friday, January 31, 2020

Turn it off!

There are days when I drive home from running an errand, picking up the kids, or coming home from teaching and I park the car — but I can't get out. I look at the bags, papers and backpacks and can't seem to figure out what to grab first. When I go grocery shopping, I take so many trips up and down, emptying the car and then putting away groceries only to find I left my purse in the car. The idea of coming home after being out should offer me a sense of calm but often it is anything but. I take a moment before planning my tactics for getting out of the vehicle with as many items as possible. Once I finally get in the door of the house I have the even bigger challenge of putting away everything and then actually dealing with the people in the house who live with me.

School days often feel like I am a contestant on "Amazing Race." I wake up and immediately the clock is ticking in my head. Breakfast, teeth brushed, 5 minutes of mindfulness (HA!) ten minutes of yoga, directing traffic in and out of the bathroom between a tween and a seven year old boy, bed making, sock finding, homework finding and if I am lucky, I will be fully dressed and have time to read a two minute news summary of what is happening in the world. It is truly an adventure and one never knows when an obstacle like a meltdown might occur. It keeps it all so exciting!

It's quiets once I drop my kids off at school. I can actually hear my heart beating back into it's normal rhythm. It all seems so peaceful...until a text comes in asking me if I can please compose an email immediately to help find volunteer coverage for the next day's art class at my son's school. Or I might turn around and find the puppy has chewed the couch cushion I had out to dry from when she peed on it the night before. I might even notice that there is a hamper full of clean laundry that I must drop everything for to start folding at that exact second. I can't seem to stop myself, and the race is on because pick up is at 3!

This past weekend we went away for three nights. The first day away I was having withdrawal symptoms. I couldn't turn my head off. I kept worrying that I should check my phone in case I missed an urgent email or text. I was sure that being away would make my workload bigger when I returned. What was I forgetting? Who forgot a project was due, a bill paid, what lunch did I forget? Then finally with a bright sky reflecting off of beautiful white snow — I relaxed. I managed to let it all fade away. I had nothing that needed to be done in that moment but to breath in and out. It took me almost a full day to get to a relaxed place. When we finally went home, it took me this whole week to get back into my normal pace. This is a good thing. Life is not a race. Yes, we have to get to school and work on time, but you only get points deducted if you are late. You don't win anything in real life for being first.

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