We working moms, we’re 24/7 kind of women. We’re thinking of what’s next, who needs socks? What’s in the kitchen cabinets that might make something that looks like dinner? When is that soccer banquet? There’s no way he has pants that fit or clean ones even. Look, more peeling paint! Why has the dishwasher been making that noise and WHO IS that boy who slows down as he drives by our house 40 times a day?
You get it. You do the same, right?
When do working moms ever stop thinking? Stop planning, preparing, bracing ourselves for the next round of incoming requests, to do’s and grievances…? For me, it’s while I run (which I thoroughly hate). For others, it’s meditation, yoga, the drive home from the office. But, I have been wondering, what thoughts would bubble up if I just let my mind go, if I took it on a mini-vacation, and rested it from the buzz of a thousand competing, hive-mind thoughts? If I let it think unforced, un-crimped by the fear of letting a ball, or the proverbial other shoe drop? Will the world screech to a halt? Will my life come undone? Will my children stop changing their skivvies? Come down with instantaneous and irrevocable scurvy?
Today, in the beautiful sunshine, I sat on my porch for 10 minutes (I had cookies in the oven and a conference call in 12 minutes, so I know this was accurate timing), and I let my mind do what it often wants to do, but rarely gets the chance.
I let it lead me, unclenched, and hand in hand together with my heart, to wherever it wanted to go.
Where it went surprised me.
I thought of my mother and the set of her chin as she concentrated, and the smell of my grandma’s dinner rolls baking in the old-fashioned stand up oven, on a cool summer night in Maine. I see the face of the man I love, my soul-mate and best friend, and I feel the thousand silent kindnesses he offers me rain over my heart, the details of every day love that go so easily unnoticed. And I miss my sister, and wish to see her so hard that my eyes squinch up, and I think she might appear if I open them slowly. Her familiarity is irreplaceable, only a slight genetic degree away from each other, mostly we are the same. I giggle thinking of her funny laugh over the phone, telling me stories I barely hear or understand but laugh at anyway, because she is. I remember my baby girl dancing on the kitchen table late one night to “Just Gimme a Kissssss” at only 18 months old, surrounded by the cheers of her siblings, and the detail is so perfect, I exhale with relief at having not forgotten such preciousness.
I feel the love of my long distance friend of decades, Lee Ann, and wonder how many close bonds are held firmly and forever like ours, across lifetimes and disappointments and joys and mostly by text message. I see my kids slow-dancing with each other at a wedding, making us laugh, the feeling of knowing that of all we’ve done wrong, we must have done something right. I hear the sound my of father saying “Hi doll!” when he picks up the phone, at least once a day, every day. He is always there for us.
I recall the front yard football lessons, and the way I felt when my nephew came for a surprise visit- loved beyond question. The look on the kids’ faces when we surprised them with puppies.and nightly games of cards I played with my son, Josh, on vacation last year. Not the school-night countdown to bedtime game of Go Fish, and other promises of an orderly kind. No, these were the kind of card games that go on forever.
Just for the fun of it.
Memories flow by at light speed, and I understand why they are called ‘re-collections,’ because I welcome them, collect them again, with a prodigal mix of joy, relief and sadness that they had to go away in the first place. That I was not strong enough to hold them here in the everyday chaotic bustle of my over-crowded mind.
In these 10 minutes, my recollections are not forced in between the impatient spaces of 1,000 other things. They are my sole, glorious focus.
Just for the fun of it.
I don’t say that enough: “Just for the fun of it.” I will say it more.
My life is too crowded with ‘shoulds,’ yes, by my own hand, but not completely in my awareness. My brain is full, running through details, re-living 100 more with brilliant, still judgmental hindsight.
And, I recall, in these few precious moments, that I can make choices about how, what and when my brain thinks, and when it doesn’t. I can choose to stop the torrent of competing thoughts, the constant pre-planning and cognitive do-overs, and just Be. Me.
Why would I do that?
Just for the fun of it.
Try it, friends- just 10 minutes. Then tell us what comes home to your mind when you let it? What are you doing ‘just for fun of it’ in your life? Deb and I want to hear from you! Please and connect with us on:
Twitter @CRWomenAtWork, @debmbest and @CoreyJamisonLLC
Join the LinkedIn Group: Capital Region Women@Work
Remember: Lower the bar, and drop the guilt (today).
This blog was originally published by the Times Union and can be accessed here.