T minus two weeks and school starts. I’m not elated about that; I’m generally a little wistful about the passage of time and the aging of my children. I’m not distraught about that, either; I’ve had enough long summer days to feel like we’ve gotten lots of relaxing and playing and laughing and arguing and rule-ignoring.
One thing I am anticipating with a bit of dread is my fall schedule. I’m not a relaxer myself...give me a rainy Sunday afternoon (like yesterday) and you won’t believe how clean I can get my oven (it looks gorgeous) or how quickly I can organize the junk drawer (awe-inspiring). In that spirit, I have completely over-committed myself for this fall. And winter. And spring.
Seriously. I won’t list all the volunteer positions I’ve accepted, or the paid positions I’ve been lucky enough to be offered, or the general busy-ness of all I have on my plate. But trust me...there won’t be many spare minutes.
So on the heels of thinking about all the to-dos I’ll have and time management skills I’ll need to practice, I keep getting hit over the virtual head with online articles about being present. I keep reading tips on being present to Whit, I keep wondering if I will ever be the kind of person who can actually slow down enough to really be present. Probably not.
But, as I get all those articles in my inbox and think about trying to be present, just for a second, I do know this. If I could bottle this minute right now, I would. I would bottle my children. I would bottle Caroline asking me to scratch her back or play with her hair. I’d bottle her braces and her smile and her ponytail and her butterfly kisses and the way she can still build forts and play with Play Doh for hours. I’d bottle the happiness she gets from play dates. I’d bottle the Polly Pockets that still inhabit Dora’s talking doll house and I’d bottle the way she plays school and I’d bottle her hugs and her laugh. I’d bottle the way she still wants me to brush her hair and I’d bottle both the little girl I adore and the big girl trying to emerge.
I’d bottle Jack. I’d bottle his incredibly funny sense of humor and his wiggly teeth and Bongo, his favorite stuffed animal, and his footy pajamas and his thumb and his tendency to rub my back because he knows it always hurts. I’d bottle the times he crawls into my bed or my lap or my arms and I’d bottle his sparkly eyes and I’d bottle those little hands that still have indents instead of knuckles. I’d bottle the little boy who will cry if he’s sad and laugh if he’s happy and correct Caroline’s table manners if he’s feeling impertinent. I’d bottle his silly karate chopping and the way he sticks out his tongue when he’s concentrating.
I’d bottle Whit. I’d bottle the way he roughhouses with the kids and brings me my coffee, perfectly prepared, when I’m just barely awake. I’d bottle our nighttime glasses of wine and our hotly competitive games of Bananagrams and Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit and gin rummy. I’d bottle how hard he works and I’d bottle how funny he can be and I’d bottle his camping and his fishing and his hiking. I’d bottle the snow forts he makes, I’d bottle the sand castles he makes, and I’d bottle the excellent hugs he saves for us. I’d bottle his corny jokes and his fierce devotion to his family.
I’d even bottle myself. I’d bottle my health, for sure. I’d bottle my running and my cooking and my reading and my redneck garden. I’d bottle my nutty dad living in the basement and I’d bottle my nutty siblings
and their families and their cute kids. I’d bottle my friends, so so fast, and I’d bottle my cute little neighborhood. I’d bottle my glasses of wine and my blog and my midlife crisis and even my frantic schedule. I’d bottle the parties I love to throw and the chocolate chip cookies I love to make. I’d bottle the ridiculous dog and the way he steals dinner off the counter and the way he stands on the upstairs landing early every morning and sneezes loudly. I'd bottle the way I can't do math and the way I laugh loudest at my own jokes. I’d bottle the happiness that sometimes brings me to tears, and I’d even bottle the worry that sometimes keeps me up at night, because it’s all part of right now.
So, there you go. I was present for the fifteen minutes it took me to write this post. If you got bored after the second paragraph, I’m really sorry, and I don’t blame you. Usually this blog is about making you laugh. Today it’s more about making me stop DOING for a second.
And it worked. I guess all the articles taught me a little something.
Here’s the one that got me started: Zen Habits.
And if you read this far, thanks.