Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The Urgent VS. The Essential - thoughts from the Polar Vortex
Last night, while laying in bed and thinking through the myriad things to which I needed to attend, I came close to tears from the overwhelming mass of it all. I actually couldn't keep track of all that I had to be worried about, the list too long. Between grad school deadlines and piles of grading and the details of travel plans not falling into place, I wondered when I would get to the grocery store to get more strawberry jelly and coffee creamer.
I hear a little whimper, then a hoarse cry. "Mama." I get out of bed and walk to my 4-year-old's room. She is sick, has been sick for 3 days. I lean over her bed and touch her cheek. She lifts her eyelids for only a moment, then reaches out and grabs my hand.
"I want you to lay down with me."
I lay down beside her, tucking silky blonde strands of hair behind her ear. Her breathing evens. I think she has gone back to sleep. I watch her chest lift up and down for a few more minutes, then sit up to go back to my own bed. Again, her little hand grabs mine.
"I want you to lay down with me forever."
I lay back down. Kiss her warm forehead. "I promise I'll love you forever," I whisper.
"Me too, Mama," she whispers back.
I lay still beside her, listen to her soft snores, and wish I could promise to lay here forever, to keep her safe and warm next to me, to kiss away fears and fevers. But there is too much that is beyond me, too much I can't control, too much outside of this moment vying for time and attention. Too many days and years bearing down upon us. But I have this moment. A quiet moment in the dark, snuggling with my sweet, snoring baby to remind me that all that stuff I worried about moments ago isn't nearly as important as what I'm holding in my arms.
My days may be filled with deadlines and To Do lists, but my arms, my heart, my life is filled with those I love. And I'm ever learning how to set aside the urgent in order to attend to that which is essential.