Sometimes I write to encourage or inspire. Sometimes I write to question or vent. Other times I write to record or remember. This is one of those remember times.
I want to remind myself I am happier when my day is padded — when my schedule has breath and space — when there is plenty of time for transitions — when there is time to pause and notice.
I dropped Croft off at cheerleading on Monday, and it was just Locke and me. (Elle was at dance and Crew was at a friend’s house.) I had ample time before I needed to pick Elle up from dance.
So as we left the rec center, Locke …
walked on the ledge of a brick wall as I held his hand
smelled the flowers
noticed a pattern with the flowers- yellow, orange, pink, yellow, orange, pink…
climbed on a rock
practiced buckling his own seat belt
Because our schedule was padded, we could take our time getting from the rec center to our car. And I found joy in that unrushed time.
Now compare the above scene to a scenario that happened the next morning.
I was trying to get to yoga; I wanted to get Locke to babysitting co-op; and Crew and Croft needed to get out the door to school. (Elle was snuggled on the couch reading Harry Potter #5). Crew was ready for school early so I sent him to accompany Locke down to the neighbors. Locke wanted to ride his little bike and Crew could walk by him. This would get them both outside and moving and save me some time!
I remained in the house to get Croft going. She was sluggish and taking her sweet time. I yelled “Croft! Let’s go!” more than once. When she finally found her shoes, we rushed out the door only to find Locke and Crew had made it about two houses down despite leaving over 5 minutes ago.
I am pretty sure I yelled again, “What is going on?” Crew tried to explain to me how Locke was riding really slow. I told Crew to go to the carpool and I would take Locke. I wanted to give Locke the chance to ride his bike so I drove my car slowly along while he rode on the sidewalk.
Locke proceeded to put-put on his bike as I yelled out the car window “Hurry buddy!” over and over. By this point, I was way late and didn’t want to miss my yoga class, so I gave up. I pulled over and loaded Locke and his bike in my car. I sped to the neighbors and dropped him off, but I didn’t even walk him to the door. I just waved to my friend as she let him in.
On the way, I stressed on every red light, and of course I got behind the big truck painting street lines. Needless to say, I was late to yoga.
There was no padding in my schedule. There was no time for any one to be ‘off’ or slow. There was no time for glitches or set backs.
As I drove home from my rushed morning, I regrouped and remembered how much happiness and joy I had felt the day before when my schedule wasn’t tight — when I allowed Locke time to be a kid rather than an overscheduled, hurried adult — when we could slow down and pause.
So instead of picking him up in the car, I walked to my neighbor’s house to force me to slow life down.
On our route home, Locke …
noticed the storm clouds
asked “Why does it rain?” (and I had time to answer him)
noticed bees swarming around purple flowers
got the mail
and let me hold him for part of the way.
This slowness felt way better than my hurried morning.
I think padding my day has been on my mind this week because of yoga. My teacher has been reminding us that what ever we focus on expands. So if we think about the negative; the negative will increase, etc. And likewise, if we think positive thoughts, we will find more positives things in our life. Because of this principle, she has been having us pause and hold at the end of our exhales to create space around the breath and literal stillness. And if we focus on the space and stillness with our breath then we will create more space and stillness in our life. (This kind of mumbo jumbo is why some of you hate yoga; and it’s exactly why I adore it.)
I know that craziness happens sometimes and schedules are busy, but I believe I have more control of my day than I want to give myself credit for. I can do less, or plan better, or chill out more so that I can have more space and breath in my family’s day and in my children’s lives. I want to be mindful of padding my day with extra space, especially in the transitions, so I can notice and pause more. I want to say “hurry up” less and “look at that” more. I must try to remember that packing my schedule tight might be efficient time management, but it is not my recipe for happiness.