Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bending back

Flexible I’m not. Physically nor emotionally. I’m a woman with stiff wrists and a rigid plan and I don’t like either to get pushed too far. It’s almost a cosmic joke, then, that I chose an unpredictable career as a freelance writer. And then went and had a kid. If nothing else my daughter has reminded me that flexibility is fundamental to parenting. So, like it or not, I’m learning, and I got a chance to test that knowledge this week.
An hour into work Monday, on deadline, my babysitter informed me that my daughter was (violently and messily) ill. I missed two days of work and altered a deadline to take care of her – and clean the carpet behind her. I hate to miss work. I hate to clean the carpet. But I remember how much I wanted my Mom around when I was a sick. And I was happy Sweet P wanted her Mom. Just as she started feeling better, I got a version of whatever she was passing around. Then – because we share everything here – my husband got it.
I felt funky for about 24-hours. Took me off my workout for a day. I started back with a slow walk more to escape the walls of my house and a fussy baby than because I’ve become some hardcore fitness buff.
But it felt good to do it. Now I feel pleased that I got most of my walks in even while little else got done this week. My “To Do” list is too overwhelming to think about come Monday. But somehow it doesn’t matter that much.
Life changes moment to moment, and I’m learning to roll with those changes rather than fight against the inevitable. For me, this requires constant practice -- but I'm lucky then, because there is no shortage of opportunity.
This week, I focused on two things: I took care of my family. And, I took care of myself.
I pouted about it some. Talked about how hard my life was. Talked about how I had to drop everything to deal with this. Talked about how we were buying new carpet.
But in the meantime – even though I’ve had to move the pink play kitchen set over the yellow spot by the wall -- I’m glad I figured it out. I’m glad I cuddled my baby. I’m glad I fit in my walk. Because I can tell you in all honesty, work would have captured my attention before. I would have slipped it in at every turn, draining my energy from the places that mattered most. Yep, plans changed this week and I found that I could bend a bit without losing my way -- or perhaps I found my way in the process.

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