Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pockets of rest

I have hermit tendencies.

Cody was Mr. Social with the kids all weekend, while I stayed holed up at home reading, writing, working out, cooking and cleaning. It was glorious.

However, eventually Monday rolls around again, and for me, Mondays are long. Cody has a class that keeps him away until 7 p.m., which is generally when we are getting the kids ready for bed. We all miss that evening time that Cody usually has with the kids. Despite Bruno's rough night on Sunday, I had the best of intentions for Monday. I had planned to take the kids to the park and pack a picnic after Bruno's nap, which ends around 4. The weather was very gloomy, however, and rainy off and on. I entertained serious thoughts of staying in all afternoon, but with still an hour left before I needed to make dinner, I helped the boys get their things on and we went right outside to "the circle," not straying far so we could quickly duck back inside if there was a sudden downpour. I brought our Petersson und Findus music with us, an assortment of toys and Farzeuge, and was yet again reminded of how important it is to get outside. I am always shocked, as if it's never happened before, by how great it feels to simply sit under the wide open sky—even if it's cloudy or the air has an unpleasant chill. And even if the details of our time spent outdoors are less than impressive (like yesterday, when the boys seemed to just want to sit and eat rice cakes instead of play), It gives me a feeling of success. We foraged for a bouquet of flowers for the table, admired the huge flowering bush near the entrance to our building, and simply enjoyed the wet, green earth that surrounded us on all sides.

On Sunday evening I verbalized to Cody something that I think often. How can I store up the rest I get on the weekends so that it lasts me through the week? The thought of a new week often overwhelms me because I simply wonder how I'm going to make it through 5 full days of errands, appointments, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my boys. It's not that what I do is by any means the hardest thing in the world, but it can often feel like it is. So now I'm on a quest to identify ways that I can achieve more rest throughout the week. Sometimes I think the key is simply getting better at recognizing moments of rest as they come, or even anticipating them. Predicting when I'm going to get some rest has become key for me. My most cherished almost-daily rest time is around 5:30 every evening. I have figured out how to exercise while I make supper and Cody plays with the boys outside—quiet, endorphins, preparing food for my family—it's a great feeling being able to take care of myself and my family at the same time. And Cody loves having that time to stretch his legs after a long day of studying, and connect with the boys before the supper and bedtime craziness ensues. There are other times, too, and I am so grateful for them. So I guess I'm really just on a quest to recognize and be thankful, and make the most of the time I have sitting under the clouds with my kids, or exercising and periodically running to the kitchen to make sure I'm not burning something. (For the record, I've burned the broccoli twice this week.)

Are there particular things like this that are initially challenging for you to do, kids or no kids, that clear your head and give you that feeling of having accomplished something worthwhile? I would love it if you'd share them with me. I am challenged to identify more ways I can be proactive about my days, enjoy them more, and help those around me enjoy them, too. After all, my habits are greatly affecting the habits of at least two little souls who watch everything I do. It's a topic that is certainly worthy of my time.

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