Time. My most hated word. The keeper of all that disgusts me. My arch-enemy of all arch-enemies.
Yet I can never get enough of it. I’m always looking for more; desperate, scraping, scrounging, like after some narcotic that promises relief.
I can never hold on to it; it slips away, through my fingers, my toes, my head. And frustrates me like nothing else in my life.
After raising six children on my own for the past seven years, you’d think I had made my peace. You’d think that I had it figured out. The perfect routine, the perfect route, the perfect lists of priorities; perfectly written down, and perfectly executed.
Those things on my lists? They are things like dishes and laundry. Sweeping and dusting. Forget mopping and vacuuming, you have to sweep before you can mop, and dust before you can vacuum.
Then there’s the groceries. When you have six kids to feed, you pretty much go every day for something. If not, at least every other day.
Add stuff like making appointments, driving to appointments, answering text messages from kids about what they want from the store, or where they need to be later and can they have a ride, and actually being AT the appointments; oil changes, snow removal, trash removal and phone calls to school counselors because someone isn’t happy with a schedule change….add those and “enough time” doesn’t even exist in your wildest dreams.
But that’s just life, and I’ve got it all figured out, right? Oh, wait. I forgot sleep, showers and work for myself. I think you get my point here.
I got up at three this morning. That’s because I work third shift and my sleep schedule was messed up last night. I worked the night before, and so napped yesterday morning, getting up early afternoon to get a kid to physical therapy for her knee. I am also sick, with a cough that kicked my ass, literally, out of bed early today.
I woke up at three and promised myself to be back in bed, asleep again, by seven. Until the kids got up. They are on winter break this week, so I figured that I had until about eleven before I needed to get moving on my list(s).
Eleven came and went and I was still awake. Wow, look at the time. I had lain there for four hours, demanding that my body go back to bed so that I would have enough energy for my various duties today. Because I knew I wouldn’t have time for rest later. Too much to do.
And now I had just wasted four hours. And I cried. And I mourned those lost hours.
But as I lay there lamenting the sad fact that I am sick and need extra rest, and that this hardly qualified….and dammit, I had so much to do–as I lay there, one simple thought snapped into my overworked brain. What’s the point? Everything I wanted to do today is NEVER going to be done.
I will be doing it all again tomorrow. What the hell.
It’s funny what happened to me once I realized that. After I got over how stupid I felt, that is.
I felt freed. I breathed.
The grip of anxiety and restlessness and “hurry up”…well, it was gone. I would just be doing it all over again tomorrow anyway. Why race in a marathon that had no finish line?
And something else. I was happier. Some of the depression I’d been grappling with, lessened.
I wondered what I had been doing to myself, for so long. Every day, all day, I wrestled with all my lists. I was in some mad dash to finish….something. Always. I had to be done.
Why? Just so I could start all over again the next day?
So I say this to you now. How freaking ridiculous.
I vowed to do something different today. Not once would I tell a child “I don’t have time.” I will make a conscience effort to say something else today. “Don’t worry, I will.” Maybe not today, and maybe not even tomorrow. But I will.
“And in the meantime, let’s order some pizza. I can do your hair, and take you for a driving lesson and hit the store on the way home and here’s the plan for you for tomorrow. Don’t worry. We have time.”
I vowed to not worry, myself. I vowed to take some pressure off me. I vowed to actually enjoy some of this day; because living as I have been, rushing through all of this life and all of my lists, just to do it all again tomorrow and having not done ONE thing that I could enjoy….that’s just damn pathetic. Not only was I miserable, but my kids were too. I’m not going to do that to us anymore.
So I have a new list.
Relax. Slow down. Breathe. Do something fun.
Because until God decides to take me from this earth: It is never done.