I woke up frazzled this morning, overwhelmed by the mountain of to-do's. Our report card deadline was looming, my kids and their one cousin are getting portraits taken on Saturday (and I am in charge of outfits), our whole family is coming into town this weekend to celebrate Baby Girl turning 3 (we are feeding everyone and I haven't even thought about the food!). Add to that the fact that I didn't have my lunch packed or my clothes ironed AND I needed to vote and attend a team meeting. I went to bed late the night before, and I was looking square in the face of some serious stress.
At 6:15 a. m., I was hunched over my laptop in the corner of the living room, furiously adding report card comments, when my son bounced in the room. "Hiya, Mommy. Wanna play Scrabble Turbo Slam with me?" His eyes looked so hopeful. I had an extra ten minutes like I had an extra million bucks sitting in the bank. But, I stopped momentarily to consider his proposal. The to-do's would still be there if I ignored them for ten minutes. I promised him that I would as soon as I took my shower and was ready. As the hot water steamed up the shower doors, I realized that all the rest of my tasks could wait--the most important task on my list was to play Scrabble Turbo Slam with my son.
As soon as I dried my hair and dressed (in my semi-wrinkled clothes), I walked downstairs and said, "Eli, you ready to play?" His eyes bugged out of his head, as he recognized that this was the time I usually melted into full-blown panic mode, limbs flailing everywhere as I tried to collect my bags and balance my breakfast while trying to open the door. He paused for a moment, then ran to retrieve the game. He sprinted downstairs in record time, probably scared I would rush out the door in a whirlwind before he could come back.
And we played. We played Scrabble Turbo Slam fast and furiously. We giggled at his growing vocabulary of four-letter potty words, and I marveled at his reading abilities. After ten minutes and two rounds, we stopped playing and agreed to continue later--maybe afterschool or tomorrow morning.
Sure. I didn't get my report cards finished or my lunch packed, but what I did accomplish was far more important. I learned about being present in the moment--of putting the "being" with my children ahead of everything else. My son hugged me with a bit more fervor this morning when we said our goodbyes. Was I merely imagining it, or did the ten minutes we spent "slammin'" bring us a little bit closer? Maybe, maybe not. But, what those ten minutes did was refocus me on the pieces of my life that matter. When I walked out the door for school, I felt a bit more centered, more grounded on the day ahead of me, approaching it with a sense of peace. I knew that no matter what challenges faced me in the next few hours, I was ready. Looking into those eyes of my son over a deck of cards and a Turbo Slam voice box, I found my center.
I think we'll play again tomorrow.