I find it all to easy to look at my life sometimes and see nothing but things undone. The Christmas decorations still up, the floors that need cleaning, the pile of paper on my desk at work that just seems to grow higher every day, the myriad things that need to be cleaned or organized or planned for or just dealt with one way or the other. This is especially true at work where I can’t escape the fact that I have, frankly, shit that needs to be dealt with before April when I have to go on leave.
It paralyzes me, this seemingly unending amount of doing that needs to happen. When I am productive and crossing things off the list, I feel high and energized by it. I like the doing. But when I’ve done that all day and then I look at my desk and there is still more to do and then there is a beloved boy needing to be picked up and played with and fed dinner and loved and then there is a partner that I very much want to engage with and talk to and related to as more than the parents of that beloved boy. Add to that a house that isn’t self-cleaning and the writing and exercising I don’t do enough of and then I am exhausted by the doing.
This morning I found myself growing cross with my boy as I tried to get him to school. He didn’t want to get dressed. He wanted to stop and get a cake pop at Starbucks (one time! You stop one time and they never forget). He didn’t want to go to school. There was crying and kicking of the back of my car seat and I could feel my irritation level rising as I looked at the clock and realized that I was surely going to be late to work, again, the third day in a row this week. He whined from the back seat and I could feel my face clenching in response.
And then we got to school and he informed me that he couldn’t remember how to walk. “Carry me, Mama” he cried, a fat tear squeezing out of his eye and freezing to his cheek. I scooped up his bulky, snow suited self and held him against my 27 weeks pregnant belly and quickly started waddling as fast as I could to get him into daycare.
I was thinking about my desk and my email and my busy day when I felt his little face pressing against mine, his breath in a whisper against my ear.
“Slow down Mama. I want to watch you make footprints in the snow. I want to hear the squeaky noise from your boots”
I slowed down and set him down and we walked hand in hand and made footprints in the snow and for a moment I forgot what I need to do and he forgot to be sad about going to daycare.
In a perfect world, that would be the end of the story. Fade out on the mom learning the valuable lesson to be more present and mindful and to slow down and enjoy the sound of boots crunching through fresh snow.
But in the real world, the kid gets crabby again the second he gets inside and drop off takes three times as long as it needs to and then I get in my office and I’ve already missed four phone calls and realize I’ve forgotten my breakfast and then it is donuts from the vending machine and a pile of doing to be done and the persistent sense that life is out of balance and no easy answers to fix that.