Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taking Time

take time

I sat in the porch swing the other day, relaxing while the kids played in the yard. It was nice. Until I saw that weed in the flower bed. It was just close enough to reach, so I pulled it. And then, I pulled the one next to it. Before I knew it, I was down on my hands and knees pulling every weed in sight. So much for taking time for a break.

And now, I’m disturbed by what happened. It’s like a conviction to me. It screams, “You don’t know how to relax!” And it’s true. When I do sit down, I’m usually editing pictures, typing up a new blog entry, or sewing something. I’m never still.

I think that I’ve forgotten how to relax.

Or perhaps, I’m just on the verge of learning how…

Back in college I’d think to myself, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead, so I better push on and get one more thing done.” I pushed so hard that I got sick. I couldn’t eat without feeling miserable. My fingernails stopped growing.

I was so glad to quit my full-time job to student teach. For the first time in over four years, I was able to go home and eat supper. I had weekends free to visit, relax, or clean the house. My fingernails became visibly stronger, with a ridge that marked the end of my time working a full time schedule and going to school full time. I was amazed. I didn’t realize just how much I needed to slow down or the toll my crazy-hectic lifestyle was taking on my health. I decided that I didn’t ever want to be so busy again.

And try as I might, that crazy-hectic life keeps creeping back in. It returned a bit when I was teaching my first class. It slowed briefly after Mary was born, but was quick to return. There are projects to do, church events to attend, countless birthday parties, a garden to keep, kids to teach, supper to make, and weeds to pull. And just as you get caught up, someone gets sick. It’s life.

So where do you draw the line?

What gets done and what gets left out?

I sat on a blanket under a tree today while Sam played. My older kids were attending Vacation Bible School at our church. Normally I’d be in there teaching a class or helping in some way, but I’ve sat out for a few years now. A girl can only do so much.

I’ve struggled all week with my guilt over not “doing my part.” It just feels wrong. I keep thinking that I should be able to just pull myself together and push myself to do what should be done. If I were a better woman…

And then my mom called last night. She wanted to help me get a strawberry patch set up for next year. It’s something I want to pursue. It’s a great idea. But I’m not ready to jump in to that right now.

The summer is just beginning, but it seems to be passing all too quickly. It will soon be time for the kids to start school again. And life is that way, too. Seems that the kids were born just a short time ago, and suddenly I look at my oldest and see a half grown little lady. Life is going too fast.

This is a busy season. Summer… Raising my little ones… It’s all going by too fast.

And I find myself in that old hectic schedule, missing all the good stuff. Missing the things that make life worth living. And I know I have a choice to make.

Is it more important to do one more thing, or should I sit in the porch swing and watch my babies play?

Maybe that paint in the hallway isn’t in as bad shape as I thought. Maybe they can get by without me at VBS this year. Perhaps the strawberries I put off last year will finally get planted in a year or two.

But for now, I’ll go camping with the kids. I’ll sit under a tree and listen to my two year old talk about the puppy dog that is running through the grass.  I’ll take time to make cookies with my girls, and then go visit their great-grandpa. I’ll help my boy find his missing bicycle. I’ll sit on the porch with my handsome honey and a glass of wine listening to the frogs sing and looking at the stars.

And if you come over to visit, try not to see the scrapes in the hallway paint or the messes on the floor. I’m too busy taking time…

 taking time 013


  1. Once again, you must be reading my mind:)I was just thinking about this same thing not 5 min before I sat down at my computer. So weird. The summer seems to be flying by. We've been so busy doing things, mostly fun things and things I want to do, but still doesn't leave much time for just relaxing. I was just thinking that I need to find some sort of balance, but it's so hard to fit everything in that we want to do. What do I leave off the list? I also think I have a hard time relaxing. I feel not only guilty, but it seems like my body doesn't know how to just sit and do nothing.
    Speaking of doing things, We should try to arrange a trip back to that lake we went to last year if we can get Erica in town for it. My kids had a blast last year and I'm sure would love to do it again.

  2. wow. i know you posted this a few days a go, but I needed it tonight. the closer homeschooling gets, the more I am afraid I cannot pull it off. how will i cook,clean volunteer, and make time for my husband when I am homeschooling if I can't do it now? but you know what? maybe I need to expect a little less of myself. so tonight the kiddos are having frozen, preservative laden, non organic pizza for supper. and I am ok with that!

  3. As I was reading this I was taken back to a memory of going to my grandparents house as a young child. I remember everytime I walked in it felt like a museum to me, and let me tell you I loved it. My house was always messy and it seemed like my mom could never get around to picking things up.
    Me, being the clean freak that I was, really enjoyed going to my grandparents where even the cereal was alphabatized not a cob web in a corner, or a weed in the garden....
    Now that I am a mom, I know why my house was messy as a child and now it is as an adult. I go to my parents house now and, what do you know, it is just as clean as my grandparents house was when I was little.
    I often wonder if as an older adult you just have learned how to manage your time so well that it seems like there may be too much of it...
    There will be time for all of these things, I once had an older gentleman tell me that raising his children was the best time of his life.
    In the perfect scenario we will be married for 65+ years and approximatley 30 of that will be raising our children which means we will have 35+ years to clean, now that sounds exhausting!


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