Monday, April 13, 2015

That Chronic Condition Called “Busy”

Please can somebody play with me?” came a sweet, soft little voice from below me.

It had been a really hectic day.  
The kids and I had been late getting out the door that morning and as soon as I dropped them off at before-school program I was stopped on the wrong side of the tracks by a really long, slow train.  
That’s about the time I realized I didn't have enough gas to get to work.  
A full day of meetings and the phone ringing off the hook at work so of course I didn't get out on time.  
I had a list of things to get done at home – laundry, dishes, dinner, ironing.

And now my little man wanted me to play.  

In my cloud of frustration I tried to temper my voice a bit
 as I ground my teeth and sighed 
“Honey, can’t you see I’m busy!?”

That small chin quivered.  
Big hazel-green eyes filled with tears.  

“Everybody’s busy a lot and nobody has time to play with me.”  

He didn't say it in a whiny voice that surely would have ground my last nerve.  
He just said it very quietly and sadly and went to sit on the couch.  

That…made me stop in my tracks.

He was right.  

We are chronically “busy”.  

It’s a real problem.

And as I walked over to give him a hug and ask for my best biscuit cutter 
(and fellow Food Network junkie) to come help me with the dinner prep, 
my mind ticked through the number of times 
I’d said the word “busy” in the past few days.

It had become my go-to answer when anyone asked how I was doing.  

Which really showed how out-of-touch I was with everyone 
because they didn't ask me what I was doing 
or to quantify just what I had been up to 
and justify why I hadn't done more.  

They were asking about how I was doing – as a person.  

And I no longer knew how to answer the question because there wasn't time to think about how I felt or what I wanted.  Only time enough to measure how many things I’d cross off the list or boxes I’d check-marked. 

I won’t say that I don’t fall back into that habit because I do.  

But then I have those sweet, sensitive children who remind me often 
that their favorite part of the day 
is when we are driving home and I ask them to tell me the best part of their day 
and the little routine I have with each one as we say goodnight 
the same way each night. 

It’s not all the things we did during the day that are their favorite.  

It’s the feeling in those moments when we are not stressed and hurried 
and we just enjoy those few moments being together.

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