My life, our lives, everyone’s life is like a finite automata. See, Evan, I do use my degrees ;-). We get up, rush out the door, pray we didn’t forget something, commute, work, commute home, try to get dinner on the table, play with kids and put them to bed, pray they sleep the night and then, so do we. Depending on your specific family setup, you may have more things on your daily list or fewer, but the idea is that our lives have somehow become a daily race with one goal: finish this race faster and with fewer obstacles.
Trying to ease the pressure of it all involves relying on others to pick up the slack including gardeners, cleaning persons, nannies, nursery schools, your local take-out joint and the like. I don’t judge anyone for attempting to simplify their days in order to finish each one with at least an ounce of sanity. Sure, rushing to work, achieving your work goals and rushing home is difficult. It is difficult to parent children when you add the fact that somehow, you were busy before them, too. Stay at home parents don’t have it any easier, either. It is just that their commute to work is a little shorter than mine.
Even though this stage of our life is fraught with challenges not the least of which are lengthy commutes, picky eaters and terrible twos, we can always look on the bright side. There are those moments that make you pause and remember that all the commotion, the excitement, the stress and challenges, well, you wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Here are a few of these moments that have happened just recently that made me think how I am where I should be.
Driving home from work yesterday. I allot 47 minutes to get home. I am a sight to behold as I try to rush out of the office, down to the garage and onto the busy Arlington roadways. I opted to drive from Arlington, into DC (Georgetown) across the Key Bridge and into Maryland. While sitting in the inevitable traffic jam on the bridge, I look over at the car to my left and see that its Evan. I just beamed… because it was so unexpected that we’d be side-by-side riding back home from our respective jobs and end up next to one another. I also realized that I am glad I still feel this way, that I always smile when he is around. Maybe it is a bit mushy, but we are all in need of a little bit of mush.
Having arrived home well ahead of Evan who was actually rushing to an appointment, I decided to try and make a simple salad with Sophia in tow. I did my best to make this sound like a very exciting activity. We set out our ingredients and proceeded to chop and dice. Sophia wanted to try everything, including the shallot, and even helped by putting the little cherry tomatoes on the cutting board one by one for me to slice. Sophia decided she just had to taste a lime, too and I let her have a half a lime to lick after I juiced it over our avocado-laden salad. Much to my surprise, she loved the lime and finished the job that the juicer did by sucking the rest of the sweet-tangy liquid out. Slowly, very slowly, she is becoming a little person who is so much fun to be around.
The simple things in life, like making a salad with your child and the unexpected but oh so pleasant surprise of running into your spouse rushing home make what I sometimes view as a busy, monotonous life filled with the simplest ingredient: love.
… and when you’re having an especially busy and challenging day, just imagine that you’re here…