Tuesday, May 18, 2010


my boys are out to dinner, having some "man time." to the gym, said my mental checklist of things-i-should-do-today. to the gym was not checked off yet. but i'm tired, and it's chilly and rainy, and i haven't read a book in weeks. so after seeing the boys off, i headed upstairs to change into sweats, get my favorite fuzzy blanket, and curl up on the porch with a book.

forty minutes later, i haven't changed into my sweats, and i haven't made it back downstairs to the waiting book and chilly porch. because, as i passed the computer, i realized that this was my perfect opportunity to get a little work done that has been waiting, waiting. so forty minutes later, i have finished that work...and checked in on facebook, a couple of blogs, and four email accounts. i have not changed into my sweats, i have not gotten my fuzzy blanket, i have not started my book. and my boys will be home soon. there's laundry to do. there's glitter on the rug in the living room, evidence of the earlier project that distracted me from checking off to the gym, which needs vacuuming before we host a soccer team party tomorrow night. there are dishes that need washing from the girls' night i hosted last night. there are school papers to put/throw away, legos to clean up, bathrooms that need scrubbing, sheets that need changing. there is mail to be sorted, clutter to be--what? how does one ever finish doing clutter?--dealt with, and on and on and on.

if i know who you are, faithful reader, and i think i do, this is not news to you. this is your life, too. so why am i compelled to sit down at the computer and work when i could be reading or resting or making my home the pleasant place it ought to be?

i have a dear friend who grieves my inability to rest. even as i am excitedly telling her about my latest doings and plans and schemes, she is tearing up at the lack of space in my life. why, she wants to know, am i compelled to be busy all the time? am i afraid to slow down? am i afraid to be quiet and listen? what will i hear if i'm still?

but, i have argued to my friend, i am a failure at stillness. i believe--i really do think i do--that my type-a-ness is innate, that the restlessness i feel if i try to rest is natural and truly something of who i am.

but, she argues--and here she's arguing in my head, and i can hear her voice in there--didn't i learn anything from eliza? didn't i learn the value of slowing down? because--and she's right--i spent so much time with eliza just sitting, just being still. that was all i could do for her, for the most part. didn't i learn to delight in that stillness?

although i do not grieve one minute of that stillness with eliza and in fact would take any more of it that i could get, even still, a year and a half later, i feel like i'm rediscovering part of me that was temporarily and unnaturally stilled by life with her. there was a busy type-a person buried under enforced stillness for three years and then some. did i learn to embrace that stillness? absolutely. but does that mean that my compulsion was eradicated? no. and, i think, naturally so.

but now my boys have just gotten home. and there's still laundry to put in. and a few emails that have arrived while i've been here blogging. i guess that book stays put until another day.


TwoSquareMeals said...

Do you think it's true? I can't be still and quiet very easily, and I always think I need to learn to be. But maybe in my case I know it is because I am afraid of my emotions. Maybe some people (like you) are busy by nature and some (like me) are busy to avoid things.

Patricia Berman said...

And do you think you get that from the wind? Ask Luke who needed "still" time this weekend? Not Nana! Beware, I think this gets worse the older you get!

Patricia Berman said...
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