A moment ago I glanced at my calendar and was struck, momentarily stilled, pondering the first agenda item on my digital line-up for this week: “assemble craft supplies for George ornament project”.
I am a planner. My planning does not often extend to the recurrent details in life. For years my work and school lives required intensive scheduling of deadlines and as a defense, perhaps, against being ruled by schedules, I resisted planning the minutiae of life. I am perfectly aware that dinner needs to be on the table each evening, so I don’t generally bother cluttering up my calendar with the details of whether we will be eating ham and beans or tacos that night. (Besides, putting a specific item on my calendar might make me feel obligated to actually follow said plan…..but that is a topic for another post.) When I’m feeling the need to be a-better-organized-homemaker, a whiteboard, which can easily be rearranged, suffices. In all things non-mundane, though, I am a planner.
It is a truth universally acknowledged by mothers of preschoolers, that unless said mother plans with great fortitude, adventures are not likely to meet with success.
Before children, my husband and I once hopped in our car and drove 1,000 miles to Yellowstone National Park, without reservations or stopping overnight along the way. After arriving around midnight and finding that there aren’t many hotels near Yellowstone (and that the few within a reasonable driving distance were completely booked) we slept in the car on some quiet side streets in a nearby town. We only had to move once due to a seemingly nervous resident who spotted us when a deer began wandering near our car. Today I would undertake such a drive only under duress or in surrender to a well-considered path. Two cross-country moves of 2,500 miles last year, with preschoolers in tow, have taught me better.
Our adventures, great and small, are plotted with a fierce determination these days. Call it intentionality, if you will. When I glanced at my agenda for Monday and read “assemble craft supplies for George ornament project” there was nothing especially extraordinary about it. Crafts and I are distant acquaintances, so this is a standard type of entry. Specially crafted Christmas ornaments made with my children definitely will NOT happen unless I plan an intentional time to do so. So this was a very ordinary entry indeed. Except. Except that the ornament materials have already been assembled. In fact, the ornaments have already been made.
If my life were a movie, the heavens just opened and the music began to play. In my almost 5 years of motherhood, my family has moved four times, lived in three states, I’ve given birth to two children and we’ve managed to see my husband both start and complete a demanding degree followed by entrance into a new career. Between flu bugs, dinnertime, dishes, attempting to make new friends, and packing or unpacking boxes, my mind and body have often existed in a flux between awake, asleep, kisses-for-littles and just-getting-by. I’ve come to accept falling asleep next to my toddler’s bed while holding his hand, hours earlier than planned, as a very ordinary occurrence. A movie or book late into the night are a welcome indulgence when I can stay awake for them, but the energy to create, to write without someone else’s pattern, has seemed beyond my reach. The teenager who spent a summer typing 150 pages of a novel on the green-hued screen of my father’s computer had long ago entered into writer’s hibernation.
As I glanced at my calendar and was stilled by the realization that I am finally ahead of my own schedule without the effort to reach the end of the day feeling like a marathon, I was next struck by a corresponding thought: Now it is time to begin writing, again.
This may not last long. For all I know, we may move again in a month and my priorities shift once again, with our belongings, into boxes to await another day.
But maybe, just maybe, I can once again add with intentionality an old adventure into my calendared entries.
What adventures are you being intentional about creating space for in your life right now, my friends? I love to dialogue and catch glimpses of the beauty in the lives of my friends and family flung far and wide. Please feel free to keep the conversation going, in the comments.