When I was a kid, we took a vacation with some of our family friends. It was a road trip from Denver to Santa Fe, all 7 of us packed into a van full of snacks, pillows and card games. We would stop every hour or so to see the sights & when we piled back into the car the moms always said ‘On to the next activity!’ I loved how they said it, all cheery and bubbly with excitement.
I think about this phrase quite often & I wish my mom was still alive so I could ask her how she did it. Mom, how in the world were you able to stay in the moment until it was over AND THEN focus on the next activity?
I struggle with this.
See, as a mom, I feel it is my job to look at the big picture. Let’s just take today for example…. After picking everyone up from school & working all day, we need to get to tennis lessons, swim practice and scouts. Each of these activities has its own set of stuff we need. Hat, sweatshirt, water bottle, and tennis racket for tennis. Swim suit, goggles and towel for swimming. And for scouts? Well today they are doing some sort of bike thing so on top of the uniform we need to bring a bike and helmet. Don’t forget everyone needs to do their homework and eat dinner (shhh, don’t tell anyone I forgot the afterschool snack today).
Ok, no problem, we can totally do this! I’ve got a bag ready for each activity; I’ve got sandwiches for the road since there is 20 minutes between tennis and swim. *winning* They have wifi at swim so while one kiddo is swimming the others can be doing their homework…if I don’t forget a chrome book.
This isn’t the part I struggle with. This is what I was born to do, to figure out the puzzle. To make everyone’s life a little bit easier. It’s like my thing and I love it.
Ok. Here is the struggle.
When do I stop? When can I enjoy the moment? Watch the tennis, cheer on swimming? Why am I already working on the next thing? I don’t seem to be able to wait until I’m done with that activity to start worrying about the next. To be ‘sitting in the van’ if you will. I’m worried about the science fair volcano I was just told about in the car on the way to tennis.
I noticed that after mom passed away this was especially hard. I think my body kind of does it on purpose, finds a way to think about something else, anything other than mom passing away. Is it a horrible reality that right after I found my new normal and was able to slow down and smell a rose or two my Dad passed away just as suddenly as mom had? Yup. So here we are again, not able to look at my world in the moment. My therapist would LOVE to dive into that little bit of my brain I’m sure.
I’m 5 steps ahead of everyone to make sure their moments are wonderful and seamless and I’m missing it. I’m checking grades, logging into the library web page to get everything on making volcanoes. Ordering groceries since I’ve run out of time to stop by the store. Grabbing a gift off Amazon for the birthday party this weekend. Embroidering the tablecloth for brunch with grandma and grandpa this weekend. Wait…I haven’t started working on that menu yet. Don’t forget grandma loves fruit and coffee and grandpa will eat anything with chocolate on it. Or shrimp. The man loves shrimp.
I love looking at the big picture. It’s my jam. Dude, I’m good at it. I LOVE making others look good, being your right hand man so you can make the best damn baking soda volcano this world has ever seen. But I need to find the happy medium. I need to find a place where I can put my ‘next’ so I can be in the now with everyone. To be able to tell the kids that their backstroke is amaze and their forehand is a bute and the volcano? A work of art, Babe!
To be able to wait until I get back in the car to say ‘on to the next activity’
I’ll get there. Darren’s there. The man is amazing.
Do you struggle with this? What have you found that helps? I’d love to hear from you!