Slow Down

Standard

Last Friday I attended a Mother’s Day program at the kids’ school.  After each grammar school grade presented either a poem or a song about mothers, Jean, the Head of School, read a very sweet book to us called Let Me Hold You a Little Longer by Karen Kingsbury.  It was a cool twist on looking back on your children’s younger years.  Instead of remembering all their “firsts” it spoke of being present and mindful for all of their “lasts” – the last hit they had in Little League, the last time they came to your bed to sleep, the last time you cuddled up with them to read a story.

Summer-Fall 2011 151

There wasn’t a dry eye in the place… well, at least in the first couple rows!  I sat in the second row, right behind the reserved seating for the moms of all the Seniors.  I thought it was so cool they came to this event, since none of their students were likely in the grammr school any longer. Apparently this annual event was one they wanted to cherish one last time.  As the women in front of me passed tissues between themselves, I was even more overwhelmed with emotions.  Their kids are truly experiencing so many “lasts” this year and they’re watching them launch into the world.  It’s so hard to let go.

December 2011- January 2012 103

If that wasn’t enough, our heart strings were further tugged when they started a slide show of pictures of all the students.  They played a couple songs that were extremely poignant.  The first one stuck with me, so I looked it up later and played it repeatedly over Mother’s Day weekend.   The song is Slow Down by Nichole Nordeman.  The lyrics that always get me are:

Had to crawl before you walked
Before you ran
Before I knew it
You were trying to free your fingers from my hand
‘Cause you could it on your own now
Somehow, slow down

December 2011- January 2012 137

I’d decided to take Friday off of work, for a much needed personal day!  The program was in the morning and I could think of several different ways to spend the rest of the day.  But, I finally felt inspired to pull out all my scrapbooking supplies and start on Mateo’s scrapbook.  Last year I got Sienna’s first 18 months finished and into a book, but I hadn’t started Mateo’s at all yet.  It had been on my list of goals for two years already!  All it took was  slowing down and letting myself feel the sadness of his young childhood passing to prioritize this important, but obviously not urgent, task.

Oh man, looking back at baby Teo is such a joy!  Sometimes I lament the fact that I wasn’t as present and capable of being in the moment when he was a baby.  But, then I remember all the time I spent singing to him and rocking him to sleep.  I was there. I was present.

Summer-Fall 2011 128

When I think back on my children’s baby and toddler years, even though this was the season where I controlled my feelings and spent too much time in my head, I always adored being with Sienna and Mateo.  They were able to ground me like nothing else.  Even now, as I’ve learned to be present, my kids are my daily touchstone to the here-and-now.  They are perpetually in the moment.  I love hearing their thoughts, seeing their expressions, and just watching them learn and grow through the ebbs and flows of life.  It’s the best.

But, it’s true, I often wish that time would somehow slow down.

It’s all worth it.

Standard

I had the wonderful opportunity to receive training this week in Chicago, along with some of the ladies on my Team.  The training was awesome and I loved getting the chance to spend time with Corinna, Brandi and Rachel as we all work to grow our management skills.  Actually, it’s misleading to say we were in Chicago!  Our flights landed at O’Hare but then we went straight to a southern suburb for the two days of training.  It rained most of our visit, thus we didn’t venture out to the city.  I never even saw the Chicago skyline!

IMG_0914

Getting home on Thursday night late, I didn’t get much sleep before having to be at work Friday morning.  Most of the day involved a long meeting with folks from corporate and our local office to discuss a process that’s transitioning from my plate, now that I’ve taken on managing the entire Admin Team.  It was draining for me – emotionally and mentally.  By the grace of God, I was able to stay present and engage appropriately.  It was hard because earlier in the week, I had to be assertive to get upper management to understand that this role HAD to be reassigned to someone else.  I’d been trying to get this message across for months, but clearly compromised too much and therefore they continued to expect me to fulfill the role!  So, in this half-day meeting I had to navigate the dance between being helpful in the transition while stepping back from taking on too much responsibility.

Then, all these meetings and discussions went long and I didn’t make it to Teo’s class party to help out. Fortunately the Room Mom and I chatted the week before.  When I told her I’d just be getting back from Chicago on Thursday night, she said she wouldn’t count on me to help with the party, if I could just bring her the veggies and treats before I left.  Good thinking, Room Mom!

Friday afternoon we needed to run an errand before Sienna and I went to a slumber party.  I was looking forward to helping for the evening and spending time with friends, but I was tired.  Also, the errand was making us late for the party, which made me uncomfortable and frustrated.  The kids and Dennis could see that I was flustered as we rushed through Target and I had several moments of prayer and defusion to keep myself from losing it.  “Kelsey, it’s fine.  You’re going to be late but Kristi will understand.  You do not want to take your frustration out on your family,” I told myself.

Finally, Sienna and I were driving to the party.  She’s big enough to sit in the front seat now!  I was still working to get out of my head, with all the thoughts of the workday swirling around my mind.  Suddenly, Sienna touched my arm gently and said, “Thank you.”

“Thank you for what, Lovie?” I asked.

“For everything.  For the Cambridge School. For everything,” she replied as I looked into her big brown eyes.

“Oh, you’re so welcome,” I said as tears started to flow beneath my sunglasses.

I took a very deep breath and exhaled, thanking God for this loving and wise little daughter who so often reminds me of what’s important in life.  Her simple words of gratitude made me feel seen and appreciated.  These days of busyness with work, school, and family life are all for a reason.  It’s okay for me to be tired and not have it all together, all the time.  What fuels my efforts is love for my sweet children and loving husband.  It’s all worth it.