It occurred to me today that I can barely keep up with myself.
This morning, after chores, I collected items for the Post Office while I was out, then searched high and low for Jill, the kitty, then found her and won the battle of getting into the cat carrier, then coaxed/pulled/carried Jackie, the elder Springer Spaniel, to the car while fending off the two other younger dogs that kept trying to get into the car ahead of us, then ran around and played tricks to encourage the two younger dogs into the house while I took Jackie & Jill to the vet’s for checkups and vaccinations.
Turns out I was an hour late for their appointments. Of course, I had to reschedule but, gosh, I was sure they were supposed to be there at 10 a.m.. I checked my calendar over and over, and then I learned something new. I had made the appointments for the dog & cat when I was in the midwest a couple of weeks ago, so I was on Central time when I entered them into my smart-phone’s calendar. And now that I’m on Eastern time again, the smart-phone is so smart it doesn’t want me to miss my midwestern/Central-timed appointment: 9 a.m. Central time is 10 a.m. Eastern time…get it? I would’ve been right on time if I had been taking them to the vet’s in the midwest! Only a 17-hour drive away…
I regrouped for the other events that were scheduled, including another cup of coffee. It was a two-cup morning. I found my groove again by about 1:30 this afternoon.
A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a friend about parenting, how we go about offering guidance, punting along the way. I mentioned the challenges of being a Type A parent with Type B kids and how, as she put it, I then try to re-adjust for mortal expectations. Parenting young adults calls on you to exam your convictions and beliefs in new ways. Not bad ways. Because they’re, (my three), not robots, conversations are colorful swings between educated and informed discussions or respectfully, (sometimes not), shared opinions. Sibling rivalry and silliness, singing and exclaiming are all still part of our family’s time together, lest you think we’re all serious around here. Actually, far from it.
Raised on the musical “Fiddler on the Roof”, I sing every word of it to the goats and sheep and horses and pony and piggy while I am mucking and sweeping the barn. I’m fond of it partly because of my father’s Russian/Jewish heritage which helped me feel a connection, but also because of Tevye the Dairyman’s story: his love for his family and passion for tradition, questioning his family’s growing pains and how they conflict with all he has had firmly in his heart and head for so many years. These events speak to me as a parent and as a middle-aged mom. I’m treating my own faith singularly nowadays, admiring beliefs and belief-systems, born of love, all the more. I especially respect spirituality in the many forms a loving human being finds it and it is so refreshing to clear the fog out of some of the corners in my mind.
Today I bagged and boxed up about 100 lbs. of books from my Sunday school & Altar decorating days. I’m preaching to the goats now, I’m decorating the tack room. Others are taking my place in the old youth room and on the chancel steps. I’ve got a special-needs Border Collie pup that requires ‘saving’ and instead of organizing a Poinsettia sale to parishioners, I’m up to my eyeballs in fresh bales of straw and shavings, considering my annual greening up of the aisleway with stockings on the door of each stall. I haven’t gone to a board meeting in a year or more and I don’t know how I had the time to before. It seems the barn is my church these days, the hayloft makes a great sanctuary and clearly, I have a lot of sheep to tend.
In years past I would have at least one kid at home to help me break out the Advent calendar, the Christmas decorations during this week. It’s just me to do that now. I couldn’t find the time to pull up the boxes from the basement, or get out the calendar, though I had great intentions. It was on my mind all day that I hadn’t even sent my kids off from Thanksgiving with calendars -something I tried to do every year since they were little.
How is it that I am busier than I was when I had babies and toddlers, homeschooled kids, teenagers all under one roof? How is it I couldn’t find time to pull out that colorful, slightly tacky, poly-blend pocketed “Christmas Around the World” Advent Calendar that has a snazzy harbinger of Fa-la-la-la-la from every corner of the earth to velcro to the poly-blend tree on the banner?
I’m not always in such a tizzy. And I do know how to relax. I do know how to slow down. I do meditate (don’t tell me there’s a wrong way to meditate – my preferred down-time is with my sheep or goats, just sitting.)
The lesson I got from my silly-head was to maybe consider that it was o.k. to find a new way to ‘prepare’, as the time of Advent has taught me in the past. That, like Tevye, traditions are indeed important, but let’s not close the door on new ones, or to overlook the reason for tradition at all.
Jane Austen wrote “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.” That’s not my line, Jane, but I hear you. In honor of Advent, of preparing, of traditions old and new, my reflections on December 2014 won’t be that I fussed about how I did or didn’t pull out the old traditions, but instead will be that I savored memories instead of bemoaning them, nourished hearts, waited patiently for the light, acted responsibly about my health, and treated each day like a beautiful poem.