If you’ve ever been stranded by snow, you know. I’m blessed enough to have been prepared with all the sundries; bread, milk, chili, soup, water, eggs, and enough bacon to build my own pig. But what I wasn’t blessed with was the calm to enjoy the calm. Learning how to simply ‘be’ in the midst of an East Tennessee ‘snowstorm’ has been a challenge for this only.
Of course, I haven’t been an only, or a lonely for that matter, because I have two growing boys to feed, to mother, to entertain. So the kitchen has become my office, and my real ‘office’ has become no more than a distant memory.
The first day, which was only half-a-day, was the first hurdle. I rounded up the few employees I had left out in the field, then set off to play super-hero mom to my boys and rescue them from their frantically crowded schools. We landed at home, full of excitement and wonderment. What were we to do with this spontaneous bit of time? I mean, there’s only so much homework, eating and tv watching a family can do, right? As an avid anti-tv watcher, I was a little taken aback by the dilemma. We did all that though, and after staying up late singing Karaoke on the xbox, we retired to our cozy beds.
But this mom could not rest without fully planning the next day without school that sat there all hidden in the bushes like some sniper in my mind. What would we do with all this time?
I did what any mom does. I planned. I listed, prioritized, and strategized how every hour would be spent in that long day ahead. And I awakened with a mission. Structure would ensue. We had an hour of snow play, followed by an hour of ‘unplugged’ quiet productivity that would include schoolwork, reading, and practice. That was followed by the lunch hour, that was followed by the ‘active’ hour, where sitting was not an option, but anything that required movement and loud music was welcome. It was then time for art, which included painting and drawing. The day was beautifully and dutifully filled, but – and here’s the kicker – I’m exhausted.
And what have I learned from this snow-capade? That I am grateful to be a working mother. I am blessed with a life where I can send my kids off on their learning journeys, and pick them up in time to play and entertain; to focus on the loving and nurturing side of motherhood, and leave the rigidity of monotony to the experts. Those experts are, I’m sure, much more creative and pragmatic than me. And for that, I am thankful.
When all is said and done, we all say that the one thing we would like more of is time, but the irony is that the more we have of it, the more we waste of it. While today wasn’t necessarily a waste, and it was welcome in its own right, simply because of its novelty, it was a waste of possibility; the possibility of calm. I take each evening to stop and think, write, create, learn, but never to relax.
And while I’m certain that a psychologist could have a field day with that, I have come to accept that relaxation just isn’t in my cards as a single mom of two boys. The way I see it, I will have plenty of time to learn how to relax after I’m done teaching them not to. My mother taught me the same thing. But balance is beauty. If there is even 30 minutes of calm in my day to ponder where I’ve been, where I am and where I would like to ‘be’, I am a happy mom, and the least lonely only in my family of three.