The Best of Times
For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. ~ Fr. Alfred D'Souza
I've been so busy lately.
Whatever, Jen. I have yet to meet someone who is not busy. Seriously, when was the last time you heard a friend or aquaintance happily confess, "I have so much time on my hands, Jen, I don't know what to do! It's quite lovely, really. I only have a few responsibilities and I get them done by 10am each day with such ease!"
Everyone is busy.
And I think just about one of the coolest things kids do is remind you every day how to forget all of the bullshit you may have going on, and to just. simply. play. Drop everything and have fun. Immediately. I really and truly wish I had known how to do this pre-children. It would have served me oh, so well. *sigh*
I sometimes see this as Instantaneous Buddhism: Take all of the stress and deadlines and duties you have (for people you do not love), leave them on the window sill for a while, and start smiling and dancing and living in the moment with the people that you do love. Forget about the continuing education deadline of this Tuesday, and let's set up the Play-doh pasta maker now, dammitt. (Do Buddhists swear?) To heck with the marketing meeting I should be attending right now. So sorry, co-workers, but I'm turning on some Bob Marley and Lila, AJ, and I are grooving on our dancing towels. Emancipating ourselves, if you will, from mental slavery. Heh.
I realize that deadlines need to be met. Honest. I get it. I can be a stressball. And I do get to a point where all of the things I need to accomplish in one day can be a little... overwhelming. The other day I almost lost it. (Though, not entirely sure what "lost it" would entail. I can't run away when I've had it. I can't up and leave on a "just Jen" vacation when my patience has ultimately worn. I certainly can't just take a break for more than, say, 11 seconds without sure disaster to befall my brood. Or at least AJ to fall off a deck chair. onto Lila. Sooo...)
Ang was away on a business trip; I had gone to bed at 2am (continuing ed studying); woke up at 5am (AJ's bad Buzz dream); did the requisite mundane morning routine with the monkeys; completed random "mom" job of inserting little scoops into their "number two", as per pediatrician, to drop extraction into orange vials for further examination by said Dr. (like CSI!), thanks to an apparent gastro viral issue, blah blah blah - gross!; dealt with five less-than-stellar phone conversations (background noise being angst-ridden screams for goldfish, milk, Buzz phone, hugs) resulting in bitter friends/clients/family members who want more of my time; and dropped all of my jewelry into the toilet. Don't ask.
The monkeys finally took a nap and I was able to throw in a load of laundry, call one of the five pissed-off people back, and wash my disgusting, dripping bracelets. Then Lila woke up because the $#@%! garbage truck (which she is so sadly frightened of) decided to have perfect only-45 minutes-into-a-nap-on-a-Tuesday-mid-afternoon timing. I have seriously never heard a louder truck. So, Lila and I sat outside with two juice boxes and her blankie and we talked about birds. How high they fly and how pretty they are. Why they sing. Which one above she loves the most... And I was enlightened. I truly felt lighter. I breathed.
A few experiences this past year have taught me to, more than ever before, appreciate health, family, friends, life... the fleeting time that we have with each other on this mortal coil. But I knew that I might forget. some days. I knew I could fall right back into the groove of being too busy for silliness. Putting off life, for work. Pushing back fun, for deadlines. Saying "no thanks" to friends and family, preferring, instead, "of course I will" to those who sign the checks. Hm... Not gonna happen. Not with my little 30+-pound babies who happen to be big reminders.
Reminders that it's not a bad thing to stop what I'm doing and sing. (I'm off-pitch and know zero lyrics to anything but "Joshua Tree", but still think it's good stuff to sing out loud.) I can now read an article on the recent housing market, immediately run upstairs upon commencement of naptime, and dance along to the monkeys' insane Disney toys within seconds. Lila and AJ can be munching on a brownie and, chocolate teeth and all, whisper "Let's swim!" And then we swim... AJ woke up from a nap the other day, rubbed his big blue eyes and said, "It's daytime, Mama. I'm happy."
Give me time, babies. I'm learning...
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. ~ Annie Dillard