Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Photo by the talented Jen of Jen Marie Photography.

This week, I'm stretching.

My mind, with new challenges.

My comfort zone, with a new schedule that toys with my routine.

My limbs, with a 5:30 am running time that (for the first five minutes at least) feels more like a harsh shake awake than the friendly tap on the shoulder it once was.

I'm also stretching the limits of the 24-hour time allotment we're all granted each day. I burn through it greedily, sucking it dry, clamoring for more. My children need me. My job needs me. My websites need me. My dog needs me. My husband (bless his heart), gets to the back of the line, but in the meantime, I need me.

And so I form a new routine. I carve out hours and minutes carefully from the whole, separating sinew from bone, the muscle of my day from the fat: evening TV viewing gets pushed to the side of my plate to make room for teaching, coaching, the car pool, the preschool pickup. The portions are heaping. The backburners are in full use.

I go to bed earlier. I rise earlier.

I reach, and I grab, and I collect moments and I harvest them. I have quite the bushel full. And yet, there will always be something that I just can't fit on the plate. The apple that spills from the cart. The cup that overfloweth, and not in the good way.

This week, it's a gladiator costume.

In the midst of starting this part-time job that takes up three-fourths of my day, and finding after-preschool care for Toby and beginning soccer practice for Calvin and organizing the car pool for Nate and packing three lunches a day before running in the dark and making sure homework is done and signing field trip slips and registering everyone for well, everything and keeping up with the laundry and the packing for school break and taking the dog to obedience class, Calvin mentioned last night at dinner,

"Oh yeah, and we're all dressing up like gladiators at the last ski race (this Saturday). I need a plume for my helmet and some kind of armor."

And God's truth? I reached to grasp this additional something my child needed...I truly did. My mind immediately conjured an image of a gladiator and inventoried what we might have on-hand to create a costume and attempted to slide 'shop for plume materials' somewhere into the weekly schedule, but I fell short. I had achieved the maximum reach of my arm span, and found myself grasping at empty air.

I just cannot do it.

And I told him so, gently, and then felt the weight of guilt settle into my bones. I tried to shake it to no avail, so instead I just shifted back and forth on my feet a bit, distributing it evenly. (I would have made an excellent Catholic.)

And yet all last night I couldn't get it out of my mind...this need that isn't acute but still wanted. Still important in Calvin's life. In the end, I delegated it to Charlie, who volunteered to head the gladiator costume committee. And the guilt left in a whoosh and the plate became a little less full.

And so the moral of this story? Marry someone wonderful, of course. Someone who will pick up your slack and run with the ball when you cannot. Because there will be times when you cannot. When you flounder. And you'll need someone who will shoulder that single burden that proves too much, and absorb the accompanying guilt. Oh, and will volunteer to euthanize dying rats to boot. (Yes, that's happening. At the vet. This week.)

(Also, come join me this week at 5 Minutes for Going Green, where I'm writing about blogs and websites that can inspire you in your quest to go green...and not just on St. Patrick's Day!)

This post is a part of 'You Capture' at I Should Be Folding Laundry and Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus.
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