..Do any of you remember those old merry-go-rounds that used to dot the playgrounds of our youth? They were basically a circle platform of flat metal, with four or six large metals handles that were used for pushing the merry-go-round around in a circle, and then hanging onto while on the ride.
Lately, this is the best analogy for how I feel in my life. I'm running, clinging onto the pole for dear life, trying to jump onto the platform. But the other kids are older and bigger and stronger, and pushing just a little bit faster than my little legs can run, so I'm just sort of being dragged around and around and around. My legs are still moving, and I'm not down yet, but I feel like I'm right on the edge between being able to keep up, or being thrown from the ride.
Everything seems just out of reach. This is the hardest part for me. When I'm in a tunnel and it's so dark I can't see my hand in front of my face, I'm driven to push through to find a light. I put my head down and just plow through the darkness until I emerge, finally lift my head upwards and bask in the warmth of the light. But when I'm staring down my tunnel and I can see the end not too far off, I feel like every step I take gets me no closer. Then end is always just out of reach. There's always one more household chore to do, one more mess to clean up, one more lesson to study or project to undertake or relationship to deal with.
And yet adversity makes us grow. Complacency doesn't produce character. I imagine that if I ever had everything under control, my life would be very dull. (Although a little more control would be nice!) How liberating it is to live by my own sense of time. Or rather, my children's sense of time, which is fairly non-existent. Colin doesn't care if it's Tuesday or Wednesday, or three-o-clock, or April or what. His body understands time in a natural way - when it's dark, he needs to sleep. When it's light, he wakes. When he's hungry, he eats. When he's curious, he investigates.
As a mother, I understand I do need a little more structure than that - if I didn't create a schedule I couldn't promise you how often I might actually vacuum. And yet my flexibility is exploding. I never used to go anywhere without my watch and my datebook. Now I'm rediscovering the delight in living moment to moment.
Colin: Mommy, can we go to the centre (Early Years Centre - a play area)?
And why not? Before I would have had the day planned, and if I had included a visit to the centre, then I would have said yes. Now I realize that there is little stopping me from living life from whim to whim. As Colin grows he will understand scheduling and appointments and time. But for now I won't rush it. In fact, I'll revel in it!
(But for the record...I still feel as though I'm on that merry-go-round!)