Friday, February 06, 2009

SLOWING DOWN AND TAKING NOTICE


I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions; I just am not interested in resolving to do something I should already probably be doing anyway. But my falling down on January 2nd (See Nice Start To The New Year) has made me think that perhaps this year should be different. You see I am an assiduous multi-tasker and hopelessly and perpetually in a hurry. I am one of those annoying people who believes that everything happens for a reason and that there is a lesson in every error and I think that in falling down and injuring my ankle and knee that the universe is trying to tell me something, something like: ‘slow it down stupid!’

I rush, it’s what I do, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time for everything that needs doing. Being a single mom with two young children is a full-time job just by itself, add to that a full-time day job and off-hours freelancing, doctors appointments, laundry, dinners, packed lunches, homework, house cleaning, the care of a large number of pets, yard work, car upkeep, shopping, karate lessons, speech therapy, drop-offs and pick-ups to and from school and daycare…whew, I am making myself feel exhausted and overwhelmed just listing what I have to do weekly. My point is, I don’t see an alternative to rushing madly about. I already rise at 4:45 AM in order to just get myself and the kids ready to leave for the day, and I really do try to get the required amount of sleep, which means I would have to be in bed asleep before 9 PM….the only time that happens is when all of the rushing has finally caught up with me and I am so weary that I can barely make it up the stairs to collapse on my bed, but most nights I am able to at least make it to bed by 11 PM and slip in some much desired reading time. This is my favorite time of day, when the house is quiet except for the gentle, steady breathing of my children and assorted pets. When I snuggle down into my flannel covered feather bed, cover myself in my silk cocoon comforter and pull out whatever book I am currently reading, I comfort myself with the thought that I have several hours to loose myself in blessed, hopefully uninterrupted, sleep.

In causing myself an injury that requires me to walk slowly and carefully I have begun to see some things in a new light. At first glance it would seem to be somewhat depressing to find that your two year old walks faster than you do. But it has forced me to slow down and smell the roses so to speak, even at work….”Oh, that’s a nice potted plant, never noticed that before,” as I am shambling my way to the restroom. And, if one walks slowly, one catches interesting bits of conversation floating from cubicles and offices, most of which is dull, but on occasion there is some sparkling jewel of useful information that could possibly come in handy in future, one never knows.

While out in society, walking slowly can result in found money that has fallen to the ground, or small creatures in need of help out of a dangerous parking lot. Since progress is being made sluggishly, one has time to notice the mother duck at the edge of the pond gathering her brood around her with clucks and soft quacks, or the beautiful, puffy cloud filled sky, although caution should also be exerted when noticing nature since not paying attention to where I was going caused my forced leisurely gait in the first place. I am sure that there are less painful ways to make oneself take time to notice life’s small joys.

Not all multi-tasking need be a rush job, while commuting to work I have nearly an hour all to myself in the car and practice deep breathing and deep thinking. This results in a wondrous calming of my mind and spirit and helps to start the day right. However, by the time the lunch hour arrives I feel the need to pounce from my chair and bound out the door in order to run needed errands and usually come back without having eaten and all a fluster. I have one hour at lunch from the time I leave my desk until the time I am expected back at it to get my daily errands done. I am able to go into three stores, shop and arrive back on time. Lists are absolutely essential and must be ordered by store layout. Today I went to the party store for a friend for tiaras and wands for her tea party next week, then to the book store for myself, leaving shortly after laden with several volumes and still arrived back at the office with 12 minutes left to pop my Lean Cuisine into the microwave and land back at my post. For better or worse I work in front of a computer all day, so in some ways this allows me to slow down, albeit, at times a little too much, there are days when I find my head lolling and my eyelids uncomfortably heavy to say nothing of my sedentary body that cries out for some exercise. There is nothing worse than being sleepy and unable to just take a nap. I find myself wondering if anyone would miss me if I just slid under my desk for a little siesta. Corporate America really needs to rethink the work day, there is no doubt in my mind that if we all started with a little Tai Chi in the morning; exercise for both body and mind, and then had a little nap in the afternoon that we would all be more productive and happy.

In my younger adult days I was puzzled when I would hear someone say that ‘there weren’t enough hours in the day’. I thought to myself that there were plenty of hours in the day, at that time in my life I got done tons and had lots of time to play and do the things I wanted to do. I went to work and enjoyed it, I swam and worked out at the gym, I painted and created, I went out with friends or on dates, I saw movies and plays and concerts, and I read several books a week. But now I find myself wishing for a few more hours at the end of each day just to put my life in order. How on earth did this happen? When did my days get so short?

You may think that perhaps I am just not organized, but though it may appear so to the external eye due to the chaotic state in which my home usually exists, I assure you that I’ve got a system that works pretty well. On Sunday afternoon I do all the cooking for the week so that dinner is easily heated up and ready quickly when we arrive home. I pack all the kid’s lunches for the week as well and have them lined up in the frig. I lay out five outfits for each child after the laundry is done on Saturday. In the mornings I get myself dressed and ready before waking the kids. Once they are awakened and dressed #1 helps #2 eat her breakfast and go to the potty while I take out the critters and get them feed and watered. On my way out to do this I drop off my work day bag and the kid’s lunches and start the car to get it warmed up if it is very cold. When I come back in I fix my coffee, get the kid’s coats on and we are out the door. And as long as I don’t hit the snooze button on my alarm clock too many times we are on time. In fact this morning we were running 20 minutes ahead of schedule and had to sit and wait for the daycare to open. But it was nice; we all got to chat and laugh and sing to the music on the radio. Being early this morning was an especially nice way to start the day, I even had time to give both my babies extra kisses and hugs, reminding myself to savor each embrace from little arms and to commit to memory the feel of my lips on their dearly loved foreheads and chubby little cheeks. Because it is not the frustrations of my days that I will want to remember when reminiscing, but the smell of my children’s hair and their infectious laughter, causing me blissful pause and peace. Besides, the raising of little humans should never be a rush job.

©KKW 2009

2 comments:

Maia said...

Just stopping in to say hi...I was browsing adoptcleft and found your lovely blog. Very much enjoying your writing and your beautiful daughters. Our daughter QQ has been home for seven months and is due for her second surgery next month.

1happymommy said...

What a great reminder! This is one I need to do to-stop and smell the roses more.
Cathleen