I love it when there is nothing hanging fire – no deadline to meet, no task that has to be completed at that moment, and no messages to be returned. For some reason I relax best when there is nothing tugging at my mind or vying for my energy. At these rare moments I can just be.
Unfortunately, these moments are rare even if the demands are my own expectations. It takes work on my part to free my brain from the should’s and to move into a less stressed mode. However, just because it is hard doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In fact, if I waited for an entirely clear deck, I would never take time for myself or relax.
And slowly I have learned to rank and prioritize my to do list and put it into perspective. It usually takes an out of the ordinary event to help me re-learn this.
This weekend brought such an event. My daughter was expecting her second child. He was due on June 19 but at 2 am on Saturday morning I got the call that said “Can you come over and be with Ari? My water just broke and the contractions are coming fast.” By 2:30 am I was pulling into their driveway and they were pulling out. At that moment all my plans, my to do lists and my self-imposed deadlines went out the window. My new focus was being Nana for as long as they needed me. And I was strangely relaxed about it.
There was no climbing into their bed and going to sleep though because the five-year old was awake and very much aware of what was going on. So we climbed into her bed and as we lay in the dark she began to talk and ask questions. The conversation was wide-ranging and as I listened to her I thought about how different it felt to be awake at 3:15 am chatting with a 5-year-old without any worry of getting to sleep – her and me! We just enjoyed the early morning as if we didn’t have to face a full day in a few hours.
Years ago I would have been stressed over the lack of sleep and all that I had to do the next day. I would have been stressed and worried about how cranky a five-year old would be without much sleep. But not now. There was a much bigger picture to be considered. A new life was entering the world and it was a world that for the moment had stopped for us while we waited, giggled and snuggled.
And if there is any doubt that this little girl doesn’t understand self-care and time for yourself…around 5:00 am when I thought she may have drifted off knowing that her little brother had arrived safely and all was under control, she says into the darkness, “Well, Nana, now Mommy can have wine again.”
I’m sure with two little ones, my daughter will be glad to know that and I hope that she will learn from her five-year old that there are times when letting the world stop is the best gift she can give to herself and to her children.
Check your to do lists today. What can you let go of in order to spend some time off the grid and in a self-care moment?