Friday, August 19, 2011

These last sweet days of summer

They are winding down and each day is bittersweet. Today is a perfect example. 83F, sunny and clear. But what to do? We have an appointment at 2pm, smack dab in the middle of the day. It seems like such an effort to get out and do something, if only to be interrupted by the call of obligation.

We met a couple of neighbors out walking their dogs yesterday. They were friendly, but it made me realize that I feel like this rental house is just a bigger, nicer, extended hotel stay. I know we won't be in this neighborhood through the winter. We won't spend another summer here. We won't see what flowers appear in the spring, or see the whole flow of a year pass us by. It is difficult to remain in the present moment here; to commit to even liking it, let alone loving it.

In chaplaincy, I learned to try to stay in the present moment with people. Not to obsess about the future - to allow a contextual discussion of what brought people to where they were, and then to focus on how are things now, how are you feeling in the here and now.

This is a difficult practice, but my feeble attempts at maintaining it seem to be the best coping skill I own for dealing with insurance companies, car purchases, rental houses, selling our home, preparing for the MFC and for my last year of seminary.

Adding 4 children to the mix, who are in their last days of summer vacation, who don't have their "stuff" and toys and books and knick knacks; who complain about the cereal I forgot to buy at the store, and yet who snuggle on my lap and practice reading while I peruse - they are both hugely present...and hugely distracting. If my priority is to be present in thinking about closing words for the board retreat, or in crafting a grocery list that will dispel the complaints about the larder, but their present priority is the complaint itself, or that they can't reach the toilet paper, or that they want to show me the unicorn that they have drawn so beautifully... our "being in the present" modalities are sure to clash. What would Buddha say?

Ahh, the spiritual and theological conundrums of the student/working mother. The very crux of combining *anything* with parenting any age child, let alone a range of ages, is that being in the moment is like the worst ADHD experience ever sometimes, and sometimes all you can do is give yourself over to it, and laugh. There is that an intense moment of joy in giving up any pretension of being in my own moment.

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