My daughter has been a mama’s girl from the start. Where I go… she goes. Where I sit…she sits closer. Where I go to find peace and quiet…she joins me. Some days that is hard, but most days it fills me up. What she really wants is my time and attention.
All of it.
Some days I’m giving of that time and attention and other days it almost feels like an unbearable pressure. Remember those hard days when your kids were toddlers and you could barely comprehend that you would actually make it through the day and then it’s night and they fall asleep and you stare at them and your eyes fill up to overflowing and your heart feels like it will explode because you love them so much and finally you get to go to bed and hopefully sleep at least a few hours and then you are ready to start all over again the next day?
It doesn’t end…I’m thinking… until they leave the house at age 18…or 30. And you know what? I’m so very ok with that, because the truth is that nothing amazes me more than my children and how much they just want my time…my attention. They want to be with me more than anyone else in this world. That truly amazes me.
So even though I didn’t really want to drag out the bikes, pump up the tires and take my precious child to the vicious streets of crazy texting-while-driving Gladstonians this evening, I did it anyways. And I was given the gift of finally being able to say hi to the old man on the bike. From my car, I’ve watched this man ride his bike what seems to be every single day for the last year or more – through the Fall colors, through the cold temps and wet days of Winter and now into Spring again. There he is – no helmet, a determined look on his face, and not following a single rule of the road. I always want to yell out my car window “Hello there, Sir, what a fine day it is for a ride!”, but I am always afraid I will startle him, so my window remains rolled up and I just stare as I drive by, wondering about his story. As we approached him from behind today, again I was worried we would startle him, but Mai gave him a firm “on your left” and I pulled up beside him and said, “Hello there, Sir, what a fine day it is for a ride!”…
and I meant it!
I want more time. That is what it all boils down to…
More time to play, to run, to read, to soak up the beauty of this world, to be a better friend – wife – daughter – mom, to sleep, to camp, to listen to music, to travel…
I find myself trying to fit it all in but what it feels like is happening is that I’m fitting a bunch of stuff in that I need to get done first…before I play, run, read, soak, be that friend, wife, daughter, mom – to sleep, to camp, to listen to music, to travel…
I work, check off my to do list, rush along…
I speed through drying my hair, pulling it out by the roots as I rake my brush feverishly through it only to then speed brush my teeth and then quickly throw lunches together and then leave the house 5 minutes late and speed through the streets to get to work as I speed up the stairs to clock in…at least a few minutes late…every stinkin’ time.
So I’m slowing it all down. When I start to feel that tightness rise up in my chest, I stop. I do something that feeds me. I don’t let that tightness take hold. I breath. I open the window, I listen to what my insides are saying to me. They always come up with such good ideas. Today they said, “take a nap”.
Who am I to argue with my insides? They are ALWAYS SO RIGHT!
I knew last night that I wanted to run this morning. I’ve been playing around with starting back up again but I keep talking myself out of it. I was at my best two years ago and it took a lot of work to get there. These days I mostly don’t make it out the door because I dread the dread. The dread of running too slow, the dread of thinking the pain will return, the dread of sucking wind. Yet on this only sleep-in morning of my week, I set the alarm and headed out before my house even started to think about rising. I laced up and told myself to just enjoy…the smells, the air, the birds. I did not run for time, I did not run for distance, I did not even run consistently. I moved a little faster when it felt good (the downhills and flats) and I moved a little slower when the pavement had a rise in it. I remembered what it used to be like and I remembered why I started and I remembered the joy of early morning runs. I remembered it all…and I’m pretty sure I’m back.
As I was walking the dog and the girl today, I came upon a tree that whispered in my ear that I would surely enjoy lying under her branches and leaves… that she would dazzle me with the way she would let the sun drops speckle and weave their way down to me.
I kept on walking.
Can you believe it??! It seemed like too much work to get the dog and the girl talked in to it when our walk had just started. It seemed like too much laziness when I quickly tabbed through my mental to-do list for the day.
It seemed like something I would secretly come back to do later on my own.
But later came with kids that wanted to go to the park and a mom who couldn’t say no and so I offered a compromise. I would put them at one end of the park…
…and then they would leave me the hell alone while I stared up at a tree.
They were game.
I set out my favorite blankie…
…and got to staring up.
I was NOT disappointed. She and the sun and the breeze shared their stories in gentle whispers as I melted into the soft cool grass.
But then…I got to looking around and noticed quite a few other trees in the park and I thought that maybe one of them would please me more…so I picked up and moved over 10 feet and then 10 more and then 10 more again until I had appraised all of the trees in the park.
I almost skipped the very last one because it was so far away and looked kind of barren and like it had no secrets to share with me, but onward I trudged (very too close to my children) and reclined to discover it’s hidden beauty in the branches rather than the leaves. Something different, but the same.
I was reminded of my recent journey with God and the church and how I keep circling around finding myself with new views and changing perceptions, but how the strong base remains the same while allowing my branches and leaves to look different than other seekers of God.
The trees whispered to me today. They said don’t stop seeking.
I was born under the sign of Pisces. I do not even know what that means other than I am a fish and the water calls me. Today the pull was unbearably strong and after too long as a land lover, I hit the pool for a swim. The water was beautifully soft and comforting and fresh and clear. Yes…it was of the 24 Hour Fitness variety of water…but still… Amazing. I’m learning to heed these feelings when they rise up in me. When I ignore or put them off, my life gets murky and uncomfortable. On days like today, when I immediately honor my soul’s desire, the payoff is in relief of anguish and uplift of spirit. Pharrell is right – Happiness IS the truth.
Lap swimming is not my favorite form of fishery (this guppy wants a river or a lake!!). I usually count laps or on a good day, if I’ve hit the pool at the exact right time, I watch the light show under water as the sun shines brightly through the windows. Today I was so overwhelmed with knowing that I was exactly where my mind and body needed to be, that I almost cried – except I was too happy to cry! I came away from my swim convinced that I have all the answers… to life and love and peace and joy. Seriously – it was that great of a swim. I wonder if anything made you feel that good today. Will you share with me?