Given the speed of life I’m always planning but not always present. “Today is Monday and we have x, y, z to finish before Friday with the weekend holding q, r, and s.”
Here’s a more concrete example. It’s now 02 August 2016. School starts on 01 September. This weekend we have friends in town. Next weekend is camping and football. The following weekend is football, travel to Seattle, a potential college visit, and two softball tournaments. Then football. And finally Labor Day Weekend. Our weekends are full of fun, amazing, busy, and chaotic events. As are many days of the week. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of getting the right kids, two cleats, a cello, and kneepads properly delivered.
Finding the presence of mind to be present in the moment is necessary. We’ll lose the memory if we’re always rushing and thinking ahead. I’ve been guilty of this many, many times. I’m determined to fix it.
I realize now, more than ever, the time we have with our kids is short. I’ve been focusing on grabbing the moments I can…whenever I can. If it’s in the car driving and a chat happens…I turn off the radio and listen. Or maybe it’s turning up the radio and singing at the top of my lungs with my daughter while we try to figure out who’s got the melody and who’s covering the harmony. We try to walk to the library and sneaking in a visit to the candy shop once a week. God knows we spend a lot of time watching softball. It’s good to walk to the park or off to play catch with the kiddo who isn’t in the game. And sometimes…some of my favorite times…we sit quietly in the same space and read. Even right at THIS VERY MOMENT, one of my children is trying to figure out how to get her brother’s bedroom when he moves to college…in TWO YEARS. (I finally set a timer and sent two of the girls off to tidy up their toys – that way we both can focus for a few minutes.)
I have a hard separating the need to do – write this now – and the want to do – play with them. “Do I need to write this right now? Can it wait?” Sometimes it can wait. Taking the time to write has always been the one thing I let slide. It’s the one thing I miss the most. Learning to prioritize and not beat myself up for taking time from “the family” to take care of myself has been hard. But when I do the self-care of meeting my needs, I can be present during the other instances. The ones that generate memories for us all.
I’m not easy-going enough to just let it all flow. At times, I wish I were. I’m working on accepting that isn’t my personality and embracing my love of planning. Why not build on a strength? I plan what I can – the devil is in the details – so that when we’re “doing” I’m there – physically and mentally.
It would be easy to miss the moments that make each day special in the hectic nature of planning but we’re finding our way to making each point in time matter…..and still looking forward to the next.