I drove my sister to the airport today with my children in the back of the car. Generally speaking, the sound of crying or kvetching drives me crazy but with my sister in the car- all we could do was giggle. Probably because we were once young children ourselves, crying behind our parents in the car. Somehow the lightness of our mood was infectious and everyone was happy (or sleeping) by the time we arrived at the airport. When my sister left, my son commented that he wished she could have stayed in the car a little longer because it was just more fun with her in it. And then it occurred to me. While I can’t always carry my sister around in my pocket (as much as I’d love to!), I can try to carry that lightness no matter what chaos is coming down all around me.
That realization inspired me to let me children finger-paint today. I like a clean house and I like clean kids so this was a novel project for us. The revelation to “lighten up” despite inconvenience or aggravation prompted a series of fun activities and spirits that added up to a great day. It’s common sense to not let petty things bother us. Day-to-day traffic, outrageous lines, overwhelming bills, toddler tantrums, the list goes on and on of annoying grievances that can ruin our days and ultimately our lives. But then there are those moments– the beautiful ones and the tragic too- that force us to remember what life is really all about and give us opportunities to pull ourselves out of the ruts we create.
I’m so looking forward to this week of winter break. The chance to break the cycle of rushing out to a job and rushing home to go through a routine – my pace alone is stressing me out. For workaholics, community activists, mothers with jobs outside of the home, or anyone who just feels spread too thin- the temptation to get really intense about the details is powerful because we depend so heavily on schedules and around-the-clock productivity to get it all done. But we miss out on really living our lives. I had such a great day today because I could let go of the schedule and the concerns over chores, groceries, and laundry since I know I have the week to do them at my convenience. My prayer is I’ll take this lesson with me even after winter break is done, when I’m rushing out the door in the morning, going about my day at work, preparing lunches, cleaning the house, and helping with homework. If I’m struggling, I’ll just pick up the phone and call my sister to exhale…and giggle.