Wednesday, June 29, 2011
"This is your life. Right now."
--Tyrone Giordano as Graham Martin in A Lot Like Love.
You have no idea just how much time kids take until you have one. As a pregnant woman I had this idea that my life would go on pretty much as it had before, except I would have this cute little person to share my days with (oh, and I'd have to change the occasional diaper of course). O.M.G. Not exactly.
Every day since the birth of my first son I have felt like someone trying to juggle time - talk about impossible! - trying to squeeze MY life in in between diaper changes and dolling out fish crackers.
As I walked home from dropping them off on the last day of school last week that old feeling of "no more time" hit me and my stomach sank. How would I get anything done this summer? Writing? Cleaning? Exercising? Grocery shopping?
But I stopped myself, brought myself back to the moment and remembered this quote.
I find it helpful to repeat it to myself the same way our junior high school Latin teacher Mr Lynch made us repeat sentences to help us learn about grammar, by placing emphasis on a different word each time you say it:
THIS is my life
This IS my life.
This is MY life.
This is my LIFE.
Every moment is my life. Even the moments I am sharing with someone else when I might prefer to be alone. (Maybe especially those moments....)
Yes, alone time is going to be hard to come by this summer. I am going to have to write, clean, exercise, and even grocery shop (the horror!) with my children. But in each of these moments there are lessons to be learned and life to be lived and joy to be had.
Before I know it, it will be fall and they will be going off to school again. And then to college and then to THEIR lives.
And I will miss lazy summer mornings snuggling on the couch reading a good book with my boys. I will miss playing two square on the sidewalk and pitching balls in the backyard. I will even miss taking them to the grocery store (though maybe not quite as much).
And I will regret the moments that I had with them when I was wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else.
It reminds me of a story from Care of the Soul : A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life by Thomas Moore:
"A man came to me depressed and completely dissatisfied with his job. He had been working in a manufacturing shop for ten years, and all that time he planned his escape. He was going to go to school and enter a profession that he liked. But while he planned and kept his mind continually on his escape, his work in the shop suffered. Years went by and he was always dissatisfied, hating his job and wishing for the promised land of his ambitions. 'Have you ever thought,' I asked him one day, 'of being where you are, of entering fully this job that you're putting your time and energy into?' 'It's not worth it,' he said. 'It's beneath me. A robot could do it better.' 'But you do it every day,' I observed. 'And you do it badly, and you feel bad about yourself for doing it badly.' 'You're saying,' he said incredulously, 'that I should go to the stupid job as if my heart were in it?' 'You're in it, aren't you?' He came back in a week to say that something had changed in him as he began to take his 'stupid' job more seriously. It seemed that by entering his fate and emotions he might begin to taste his life...."
Every moment we are on this planet is an opportunity to taste our lives and every moment we spend wishing things were somehow different is an opportunity missed.
Every attempt at juggling time, misses the point completely.