Presence Takes Precedence

close up photography of vintage watch

Photo by Matej on

Over the last few days I have allowed myself to sink into the pre-holiday panic.  Thoughts swirling of the million things that I feel like there are left to do, places we are supposed to be, finishing planning for the new year and what I want this new decade to bring—the overwhelm got to me.  The universe in her funny way knew exactly what needed to happen: I needed to let go.  My husband’s vacation has been cancelled so the week we were going to have together where we could both prepare and clean up after hosting is now entirely on me.  The list that may have been half a million things definitely increased to a million and I am left on my own to make sure it gets done.

I began the day at my normal time, waking up at 5:00AM without an alarm clock and proceeded to start checking boxes off of my list.  My son woke up about 30 minutes into my rev up.  I thought to myself, “No big deal, I have plenty of time, this is why I woke up early.  He needs you right now.”  So I picked him up and asked him if he wanted to sleep on the couch to which he emphatically cried no and wrapped his little arms around me.  I sat down with him on the couch and I melted as he instantly placed his head on my chest just like he used to do when he was an infant.  He knocked out again in no time, but rather than try and get moving, I felt myself sink into the moment.  My son is now almost three and it hit me that I hadn’t felt him sleep on me like that in nearly two years.  Time goes so quickly and life is so precious and I just wanted to stay in that moment.  I sat with him until the cat got himself locked behind the gate and started crying in desperation for assistance.

I slipped out from under my son and went about the list again, trying to keep myself centered.  Focusing on one thing at a time and just moving the best I could.  I tried to look at is as a test run of what it may be like working from home when my business is up and running.  So in quick succession a few things happen: the garage door we were nursing through a broken spring made it clear it needed to be fixed ASAP and, naturally, I get the phone call that my husband will not be getting out early.  I’m trying to at least get through the things I don’t need his help for but the situation is escalating at home as well.  As I hear the frustration in his voice, I desperately want to keep my panic at bay, but I’m at the point where I need him here to move on.  I HATE doing things last minute and that is why I had prepared so I could be done, with time to enjoy.  Life never works out that way—we plan, the universe laughs.

I keep reminding myself that the list is getting smaller so we are making headway.  I also keep reminding myself that this is a test of who I really want to be.  I have told myself for so long that I no longer want to be the panic-stricken martyr who angers at the slightest inconvenience.  I want to be adaptable and creatively go with the flow.  These hiccups are letting me put that into action and giving me the opportunity to see how that feels.  Now there are a few things that I’ve had some hard limits on even though I’m working on change.  For one I asked my husband for the last week to come up with a recipe for the roast so I could go buy the ingredients (since he was working) and he never did so I got pretty irritated over that.

I’m not beating myself up for slipping into old panic habits.  I’m bringing awareness to them.  Of course in the moment it feels like everything is falling down around me but the reality is that is not true.  It is becoming easier and easier to focus on the things that really make us blessed.  That changes everything.  There were definitely a few more hiccups today (more than I want to talk about, actually) but it was all worth it.  As I was putting my son to bed, I told him, “I love you angel baby” and he gives me a huge hug and says, “You’re my angel too mama.”  He doesn’t give a damn about the presents or the decorations or the food—he just wants to feel safe and loved by his mama.  His words instantly brought me back to the moment and remind me of why I’m doing all of this (the holiday, the work I do, writing).  It’s all so he knows how much he is loved.  It’s nice to have the reminder that sometimes it’s just about the time I can give him.  Presence is enough for a child: now is a wonderful time of year to remember that the same applies to us.

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