One of my New Year's resolutions was to slow down and be in the present. I have found, especially more so this past year, that I am so incredibly preoccupied that I am missing what is going on right here an now. My mind is going 100 MPH every minute. I am constantly thinking about all 3 of my kids and everything in their lives. (what parent isn't, right?) If I am not thinking about how messy my office at home (and work) is then I am thinking about the many emails that I need to respond to. I often think about work because this year has been extremely challenging. I think about the many medical bills that I am ignoring in my bag that I take to and from work every day. I am thinking about the fact that we need to find a one-level house, soon. I am thinking about Parker's ABM therapy and how we are going to afford it for another year, and how we are going to get down to California for more sessions. I think about who will watch him next year while I am at work. I think about what we are going to do for a communication device for him. I think that we need to somehow fit some aquatherapy back into his life. I think about how his preschool might not be doing everything I had hoped they would for him. I think about the fact that we need to start looking into a wheelchair for him, which comes with it another laundry list of items like getting a van so we can transport him, getting a house that is accessible, dealing with insurance, etc. I think about Brady and if we are providing enough extra opportunities for him to develop into a well rounded young man. I think about Ryder and how fast he is growing up and wonder if there is some way I could just "freeze" him just like he is. I think about how maybe we are not teaching our kids good table etiquette because we rarely have "family meals". (we tend to eat after they go to bed) I think about how I can't seem to keep up on my household chores and that each week I decide what I am going to skip because I can't possibly fit it all in. I think about the fact that I need to plan some better/healthier meals. I think that I need to start running or getting some type of exercise in so that I can be happier and healthier. And the list goes on and on...
And all of this is going on in my head all day long, unless I really make a meaningful attempt to stop it. How do I know this is affecting my life? I often walk into another room and can't remember why I am there. I often have to ask my mom to repeat what she said because I "missed" it. I rear-ended someone because I wasn't fully paying attention. And last, but certainly not least, I ran a red light which I wouldn't have believed even happened if it wasn't caught on video. I do want to explain here, I didn't run straight through an intersection. I was actually turning right, and so I did look to my left, but instead of truly stopping at the red light and then proceeding, I did a "California stop" and kind of rolled on through. One of the pictures is of my looking for cars, so it wasn't totally unsafe. However, this is an intersection that I drive through 4 times a day to take the boys to daycare. I KNOW it is camera monitored because I watch the flashes go off all of the time. I am EXTRA cautious here to always stop because I don't want a ticket. So, how I actually ended up getting one, is beyond me. I don't even remember rolling through the red light. That is scary. What if it was worse and my kids were in the car and I didn't look for oncoming traffic? I don't talk on the phone while driving, but driving preoccupied is just as bad.
So, my mantra to myself in this new year is going to be "slow down." I know, not very creative, right? I am not nearly as innovative as some, but this works for me. I might even add an expletive in there like, "slow the hell down," or any other word depending on the occasion.
This is what I am going to do. Slow. Down. Be in the present. Will this be easy? Nope. When I want to pull my hair out and scream because it is like herding cats to get just 2 of my kids out the door and into the car in the morning so I can get to work on time, I am going to have to slow down.
When I get home from work, am unloading 2 wild children while greeting another wild one who is already home, trying to get dinner going, and bring in everything from the car, I need to slow down when my mom is telling me about her and Parker's day. Slow. Down. (It would help if my kids would slow down too.)
When I am at work and I have teachers pulling me one way, a student pulling me another, many emails to reply to, meetings to coordinate and phone calls to make, I am going to slow down.
When I have Brady screaming at me from the bathroom that he "went poop" or "there's poop in my bum bum" and Ryder is clinging on to my leg while screaming "mama!" and Parker is vocalizing and reaching for a toy, I am going to slow down. I am going to slow down and watch the miracles unfold.
I will listen. Breathe. Take it in. Recognize. Appreciate. Love.
And Slow the hell down!