Just Write {134}

May 6, 2014

It’s a short flight from Atlanta to Austin. I’m on my way home from Mom 2.0 Summit. It was held at the beautiful Ritz Carlton hotel in Buckhead. The summit is a really well done and totally-worth-it experience, and

It was a lot for me.

Right now is not necessarily the best time to be away, to feel so out of sorts. Traveling makes me get all out of sorts no matter how intentional I am about it all, trying to remember to just be.

This morning I woke up way too early to catch a return shuttle to the airport and it was all so smooth and simple and then there I sat, two hours before boarding, at the gate, writing and slumping over a little in my seat from being so tired. All I did last night was stay in. I ate really fantastic french fries and I was writing and then I watched some mindless (and really strange) stuff on TLC. These are things I don’t get to do all that often and I wanted to just “be here now” but I admit I was pretty terrible at that.

It’s okay.

Now after all the morning coffee and catching up on email and signing up for the end of year volunteer needs at school, I really have to pee. But I’m trapped up against the window on this flight and there are two really tall men sleeping next to me. This is why I always choose an aisle seat. Yes, it’s pretty out the window, but you can’t get out of here.

I’m trying not to over-think too many things, which means being super intentional about acceptance and surrender and all of that. And it’s hard for me, a life-long questioner of self, an over-thinking ruminator. I am constantly considering my motives, my next steps, my last step, scrutinizing it all for inevitable faults and getting more and more coiled up, over here by the window.

I could go down with this plane and I would probably be scared of getting even that wrong. Scream? Pray? Shut down?

As if there’s a wrong answer.

I am drawn more and more and more to simplicity. I am moving toward it, I think…I hope. (See…there I go, wondering if I’m getting that right, and if I am, when I get there, will it really be what I wanted? Will I screw it up? When? How? Why? Where?)

Being in a plane reminds a person of how truly out of control we all are, every single do-gooder or not-so-do-gooder. What keeps us the same is our frailty, our failures and maybe even our joys and most basic needs that we almost forget because we are so damn busy filling out calendars and returning emails and rushing from learning one thing to learning another, whether that be at a conference or just the school of hard knocks–Life.

It has hit me in a whole new way, how I have an aversion to my own happiness. Do I want my kids happy? Hell yes. Am I all that concerned whether or not that involves my happiness? Meh, I dunno. I mean, they’ll have a chance at happiness with our without mine, right? Maybe?

When? How? Where? Why?

All of this only separates me from them–this trying to get some kind of ducks in a row that serve the purpose of getting them happier. The reality is that, as time whirs by, I am less and less responsible for their happiness, even though I’d prefer to keep myself at the center of All Things, where I never was in the first place.

As I looked over all the school emails–requests for volunteers for field day and Teacher Appreciation Week and Cinco de Mayo and the book fair and and and, I opened the school newsletter next. I had my calendar open in another tab and I was clicking back and forth filling that sucker in like all the happiness in the world depended on it. And then I saw it….that I had over-lapped some of the big changes ahead with Kinder graduation and I will not be able to be there. Then I cried on a plane next to two really tall guys and tried to hide it by turning to look out the window like my life depended on taking it all in, fire hose style. Like it was a job and if I didn’t see everything, then I’d get fired. If I had my way there would have been much gnashing of teeth and maybe even some wailing. I wanted to grieve so hard. I still do, I’m holding back for the car ride home from the airport, where I can get it out before I hug those kids of mine up so close to me and tell them how much I missed them.

It is not the end of the world to miss Kinder graduation, but it sure feels like it today. Asher will be sad about this. I will always be sad about this. And we’ll be okay, and life is hard and we all need to figure that out more quickly. We all need to face it young, rather than waiting for a midlife crisis. We have to face it so we can surrender to it because if we can finally let go at least we can allow happiness despite it and let that happiness feel good and then flow out all over our little ones and all the people we’re trying to love well.

The other shoe is going to drop even if I get all the volunteering done and make big decisions that seem right and don’t get the dates on the calendar wrong. That’s so terrifying and so freeing all at once.

Leading a more simple life doesn’t just mean living with less noise, electronically and in the air around me. It is about quieting my heart and mind, by practicing the art of letting go, as I thought I already had. It is about praying instead of thinking, and sleeping instead of reading a self-help book. It is about asking for the constant presence of God in my life–peace and hope, serenity now–rather than trying to seek after those things like a race.

When I got home, the kids left their screen time to scream and jump up and down and hug and kiss me. (Did you catch that? They left their screen time.) And later, in the minivan, Elsie said, “I love you too much, Mommy.” After that, I went in to check on them all, right before I went to bed. The boys were both sideways, like they could fall off the beds any second. But they were okay and I came over and gently rearranged them to keep them safe. They snuffled and squinted in their sleep but didn’t wake up. And then I stood and looked at them, and did nothing else, because they are so miraculous.

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This is the 134th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.}  I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page. There are really no rules, besides Just Write! (Then link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.) (Any links not following those two guidelines will be deleted.) 

Also. Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Vikki May 6, 2014 at 8:49 am

It was so good to steal small moments with you this past weekend. Sometimes, simple really is the best…like sipping an amazing Americano and talking about life on the plains. Thank you for some of those moments and I’m keeping you in my thoughts in a way that I hope sends love your way and maybe a laugh.

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Kat May 7, 2014 at 10:38 am

Oh man. Crying here.
We put so much freaking pressure on ourselves, don’t we? It is impossible to do it all. And the thing is, I think society puts too much pressure on parents now too. I can’t ever recall my mom volunteering in my classroom or a KINDERGARTEN (1st grade, 2nd grade, etc) graduation or half the stuff parents are expected to do and attend these days. And every day this week there is another celebration for Teacher Appreciation week. For EACH class. I have to remember a treat, a special note, a flower for each of my kids’ teachers (6) every day. And then there are the 10 minute plays that a class puts on that the parent just has to see. “Come see your child read for 5 seconds! It is a must!” And what do the working parents do about that? Take off of work for fear of disappointing their child and not being there? It is never ending. And I guess my point is that my parents NEVER had to do ANY of it. And I still consider them the best parents. When did we all have to get so over involved? BAH!!!
And we wonder why we can’t simplify. I’m trying. I really am. But I just don’t think that simplicity will work at this point in our lives. ;)

I think instead we should focus on going easy on ourselves. Know we can’t do it all, and that is okay.

Love the line about how the older they get the less you are responsible for their happiness. It is so true. And kinda frightening at the same time.
I often tell my kids that life isn’t all about their own personal happiness. I don’t think we are here just to be happy. I think that is where society has led people astray. And isn’t that a TON of pressure to put on yourself? To be happy all the time? ACK! That is like setting yourself up for failure. Life is freaking hard. You are not going to be happy all the time. Be grateful for the happy times and plow through the rest. ;) Maybe the less we think about our own personal happiness that happier we’ll be. Ironic.

Whew. Anyway.

LOVE this post. :)
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Robbie May 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I’ve become pretty damn good at hiding the tears…I have no choice as they spill out every damn day.
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Stacey May 11, 2014 at 5:24 am

A lovely post that catches the essence of parentaly anxiety. There cannot be happiness every day but as long as there is love, everything will be OK. The older they get, the less we are responsible for their happiness, but I hope, it helps them to know they are unconditionally loved at those times they are not happy. I know I have gotten strength from their love and I hope they draw strenght from mine.
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