Today started off like most days lately, with a long list of things on my “to do” list. We are closing on a new house next week and then moving shortly thereafter. So far, I have three boxes packed and ready to go – three small boxes… The mere thought makes me laugh.
Each and every day I make a mental list of which areas of the house I need to organize, clean, pack – do whatever it is you are suppose to do to consolidate all your earthly belongings into small cardboard boxes so you can uproot your life and move six people into a new home. Every single night I go to bed and realize that I barely checked off anything on my list and then I feel a slight sting of guilt. How could I have let yet another day go by without accomplishing much of anything?!
I feel like I rush around every day – running from task to task in a vague attempt to be productive and get some of my pending “to do” items completed. I run, I rush, I am a harried mess at times – just wanting to fit as much into a day as humanly possible. I try to do, and to be as much as life will allow with the meager 24 hours that we are all allotted in a day. But then something happens… as it did today. Somehow I am stalled, dead in the tracks I crash into a big red brick wall covered with the letters “SLOW DOWN!” – and I need that reminder!
Today, each of our children reminded me to calm my pace, stop the insanity of rushing and hurrying – everyone of our boys showed me in their own way that today was about being present here and NOW! The next task is never more important than what is right in front of you. Checking items off a list means nothing to children – nor should it – and nor should it mean that much to their parents!
The conspiracy to “slow down mama!” started this morning with Jonah’s refusal to nap. Granted he is only a month old, but I am already starting to see a pattern in his daily routine. He was supposed to take a nap and then I wanted to clean and organize our dining room table. Instead, Jonah decided that staring at mama was much more important. Those of you who have ever fallen victim to an infant’s mesmerizing glare know how convincing they can be. Instead of cleaning, I ended up staring at Jonah for 30 minutes – cooing, kissing on his little round cheeks while we both looked into each other’s eyes as if we were seeing each other for the first time. It was really a powerful and incredibly touching experience. I do not regret taking time out of my self-proclaimed busy schedule to just BE with my baby. Be still, be present, be mama – with and for him!
It is noteworthy and adorable how each of the kids were acting completely age appropriate. Jansen (2) sure managed to get my attention with his countless meltdowns that lacked all rationale except for the fact that they got him the desired attention. I know it’s hard to be two years old, and it’s even harder when you throw a new baby into the mix. One of the activities that seems to calm Jansen is watching his favorite “Minion movies”, so…. for the 28th time we cuddled on the couch in front of “Despicable Me”. Another one of our daily rituals involve going to get the mail at our community’s mailbox room. Yes, my to-do list remained for the most part untouched, but that did not matter after watching Jansen collect sticks and leaves with every ounce of enthusiasm that his little body could contain. Every single afternoon we walk the same route, greet the same dogs and neighbors, talk about the mailman and the big mail truck parked at the side of the road. Every step of the mail collection process is recreated from the day prior and will be repeated tomorrow, but it is those repetitive actions that provide him with the security he needs right now. So I gladly slowed my pace to provide him with the comfort that he so longed for.
Jordan (5) had also received the proverbial memo about their mission to stall mama in her tracks. His inquisitive nature is a clear indication that he is in preschool and is going through the “why this?” and “why that?” phase. The little man never quiets, he is always talking and being the life the of the party – even when there is no party. I always joke and tell him that he’s the loudest kid I know. While his younger brothers were napping and I had a great opportunity to get some things done before our big move, Jordan came to me and wanted to ask questions about his new baby brother. This kid is the best big brother I have ever encountered, which is of course something we want to encourage – so we sat down and talked about all the wonderful things that Jonah will learn over the next year. Jordan had told his preschool teacher with great concern that “baby Jonah has legs, but he cannot walk!” – so as you can imagine, he had a lot of questions!
By the time Jordan’s concerns about his baby brother were laid to rest, Jacob (7) came home from school. He has been intrigued by all things dinosaurs and fossils for years now. Lately he has started a rather expansive rock collection on his book case. Somehow he manages to sneak rocks of varying sizes that he finds on the school playground into his pockets. When he got home today, he emptied his pockets containing the rock loot for the day. We then examined each and everyone very closely to see if they contained any fossils – preferably dinosaur-remains. I can report that there more than likely is NOT a dinosaur fossil hidden under my son’s elementary school.
Before I knew it, the day had passed me by and yet another day’s worth of to-dos and tasks went untouched and not completed. But four little boys were able to high five each other after a job well done. They slowed down mama and reminded her that the move will take place one way or the other. Eventually we will find a way to relocate our things one mile down the road to our new house. But in the meantime, spending those special quiet opportunities with my boys was the only thing that mattered today. The boys won’t ever remember, nor care if our move takes a few extra days. But they will remember that their mama had time for conversation and cuddles.