PACE: The rate or speed at which things happen or develop
In the past three days, several miracles have occurred. I read a book uninterrupted for three hours; I went on an evening run without first preparing dinner; I stayed up late watching a mediocre movie; I went on a two hour bike ride and didn’t pack snacks; I perused art galleries and patronized a farmer’s market. It’s not so much the things I was able to do during my mini-sabbatical that stand out to me, but the pace at which I was able to do them and the lack of preparation required for each activity.
It was the ability to read without feeling like I was slacking on essential duties that made it so relaxing. Running without the rush to finish before the soup was done simmering enhanced the therapeutic effects of the effort. The movie didn’t need to be life-changing to justify staying up late when I knew that I – and I alone – would determine what time I got out of bed in the morning. Deciding that a bike ride sounded fun and being at the bike rental shop within 10 minutes – without snacks, sippy cups, or an extra pair of pants in case of accidents – was nothing short of astonishing. Art galleries were significantly more enjoyable to walk through without the need for elaborate blocking and screening maneuvers that prevent curious small hands from unintentional art purchases. It was liberating to graze on goat cheese, Scottish pastries and mango cheesecake without worrying about the lessons observant little eyes would infer about balanced nutrition.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll return to my “day job.” I’ll dole out hugs and kisses, fix breakfast, brush teeth, cajole children into putting on clothes and do the hundred other little tasks that make up a typical day. But, at nap time I’ll try to quiet the running mommy dialogue in my head – the one that is working an hour or two ahead of real time telling me the things I must do if I want the afternoon and evening to run smoothly. Rather than obsessing over the next meal that will need to be eaten or the messes that need to be cleaned, I’ll give myself time to do something enjoyable. I’ll drink a cup of tea, read a chapter in a book or just stare out the window. It’s not the activity, but the pace that is important. I’ll breathe deep, move slow, and feel calm.
Then, I’ll look at the clock and panic. After all, this is nap time – the ONE TIME in my day when I can accomplish things without interruption. What was I thinking using this precious time to stare out the window? There is dinner to prep, clothes to fold and a mysterious sticky puddle that must be removed from the hallway floor. Chickens need feeding, presents need wrapping, dust bunnies need eradicating. I’m not a monk, I’m a mommy. It’s time to start acting like one.