Lessons from my Mom: Just sit down

4/22/2018 09:02:00 PM


It was the age before DVRs.
We'd sit down to watch a movie that was playing on TV.
It's Friday night.
Popcorn. Lipton iced tea in our glasses.
We're watching...
...then the movie would break for a commercial...

My Mom would pop up and go fold the towels.

"Tell me when it's back on!" she'd yell.

A minute or so later, "MOM! IT'S ON!"

No response.

"Mom, I said it's on!"

She'd yell back, "I'm coming... just throwing another load in..."

The movie now back on.

I can't pause it. This is good 'ole fashioned TV. There's no pausing.

"Really?" I'd think in my head. "The movie's already back on and she's throwing a load in. When she sits down she's going to ask what she always asks..."

She's back. Winded. The towels are folded, she's stopped and put away the kitchen hand towels and she's got a refilled glass of tea.

She flops down, gets comfortable... has no idea where we are in the movie and asks what she always asks, "What did I miss?"

::

"What did I miss?"

Sigh.

"What did I miss?"

That question drove me crazy.

I wanted to scream (and probably did, more than once?) "IF YOU would just REMAIN SEATED you wouldn't MISS ANYTHING. You must be present to win, MOM!"

::

My Mom was the consummate multi-tasker. During one game of Rumikub or Skip Bo she'd be making a shrimp cocktail tray, making cocktail sauce, forever throwing a load of laundry in and making a list for what needed to be done tomorrow.

She was constant motion.

Kinetic.

I believe she inherited this from my Grandma Helen, who was also, a whirlwind of motion.

Gram got up early and had a plan. She never sat during the day, except at noon when she'd watch the WTWOL Channel 11 news, followed by her stories. (The Young and the Restless.) (I grew to love Catherine Chancellor.) At 1:30 pm she was back up and running, full steam ahead until dinner time. She gardened and painted and repaired and cleaned and edged and tree trimmed and painted and bowled and the list goes on and on.

The woman wielded chainsaws.

My Mom was exactly the same. While she was definitely adversely affected by her physical illness as she got older, it never stopped her. She built a garden that looked like a small farm. She was constantly tackling new ideas and learning. It was exhausting.

It would appear that I come from a long line of women with ants in their pants.

It's funny, my aunts are the same way. So are my female cousins.

We're do-ers.

::

We place value on doing.

If it needs to be done, we'll do it.

I am certain my Grandma had a very clear schedule for flipping the mattresses and turning over the flower beds and repainting the garage.

This brain wiring of systematic routine was passed down to my Mother and unfortunately/fortunately, to me.

While I do not turn over the dirt in my flower beds regularly,  (I live in a desert), the sheets WILL be changed every Saturday and we will "do it the right way, not the easy way" every time.

(My poor children.)

It would appear that I, too, have a constant need to be doing.

::

As a child, I'd get so frustrated with my Mom that she kept on going and going -- even during a movie! She'd be rushing to be efficient and would, in effect, have no idea what was going on in the present: the movie.

Sit, rush rush, go. Sit, rush, rush, go.

The woman never remembered the details -- because she was already doing something else in her head.

(Hello? This is me.)

It was like her mantra was, how many things can I get done during this period of time?

I'm starting to show signs of this. And I don't love it.

When I was little, my Mom was always rushing. I get it. She was a single mom and we were short on time and money. When she got older, she moved states away to the country and she s-l-o-w-e-d her life down.

She stopped living the craziness and instead, slowed down.

She was 48.

I'm 38.

Maybe I should start learning how to slow down now?

::

I do a lot.
I take on a lot.

DISCLAIMER: I put this on myself. I do this to myself. This is not anyone's problem, but my own.

I'm a [stupendous] wife. No, but seriously, I've got a great husband. And he's patient with me.

I'm a Mom of two little girls who are learning in Spanish, so that means I'm a part-time English tutor for American subjects.

Since I've got children, this means I am also a driver, a nanny, a referee, a cook and an event planner and personal assistant.

I've got two kids in karate, swim, cheerleading, dance or gymnastics at any given time. (I took them out of all activities this month and they were semi-irate with me. #mamaNeedsABreak)

I have a career in marketing.

I am a health and wellness coach and run monthly groups for 40 or more women.

I'm a sister. (Not a great one all of the time.)

I'm a friend. (See above.)

I'm a pet owner.

I'm an aspiring writer. (Who seems to always find other things to do than write.)

I'm exhibiting signs of the sit, rush, rush, go. Sit, rush, rush, go.

I'm doing too much.

I don't want to sit down 20 years from now and ask what my Mom asked after those movies, "So, what did I miss?"

::

So what happens next?

I don't know.

I think that I need to clear my plate.
I think I need to release this idea that I need to do it all.
I think I need to get off of my phone.
Streamline the apps.
Close the tabs, physical and emotional.

From what I understand, there's a solid fraction of us women who feel that we need to do the same thing: we need to stop doing everything and do one (or a few) thing(s), and do 'em well.

The truth is, we're jills of all trades, but masters of none.

REAL connection is important.
Recording memories and photos is also important.

But when I'm recording more than I'm making memories, or when I'm looking at other people's memories more than I am my own... well, then there's a problem, Houston.

I need to reevaluate with whom I am choosing to connect and just what I am choosing to connect to.

My first priority doesn't need to be to have the laundry folded when I have an 8-year-old asking me to come and see what her Lego village looks like. Scrolling Instagram doesn't matter when I have a blog post to write.

I need to slow down.

I need to be present.

(This is not the first time I've said this.)

I need to spend more time with the people and the things that matter.

I just needed to say it again.

::

So, as a reminder to all of us who are burning the candle at both ends -- you don't have to do it all.

It's ok to say no.

Life will go on.

Let's spend our minutes in this short life with the people and the things that really matter. Whatever is true. Whatever is noble. Whatever is right. Whatever is pure and lovely and admirable -- let's think about those things.

::

For the record: I miss my Mom dearly. Every single day. "Really, Kylee? You miss her every day?" Yes. I think about that cutie pie every.single.day.


*Inspired by Philippians 4:8.

2 comments:

  1. Gosh...this is so true!! I think we all needed that reminder, I know I did! I felt like that could be me you were describing!! Always on the move, never sitting down (till I fall into bed) I always have 1 more thing to do...then I'll sit down or go play with the kids. Time to slow down!!
    This was a good read, just like all the others. I always look forward to new posts from you.

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