When You're Not Caught Up

When I left campus this afternoon after teaching my classes, I felt behind.  When I arrived home and saw the state of my kitchen and family room, I felt behind.  Tonight when I face my to-do list after the kids have gone to bed, it's likely that the feeling of being behind will perpetuate.

Have you noticed that being "caught up" is such an elusive state?  We catch up with household chores, and then the first piece of garbage is tossed into the trash can and a dirty shirt is thrown into the laundry basket.  On and on it goes: filling, emptying, filling, emptying.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

Even as I type, my head hurts.  Little chores abound tonight: picking up a birthday gift for a kid's party this weekend, putting away the blocks, wiping down the kitchen table, changing the sheets, finishing a chapter for work.

In light of this, I'm going to do something as I run errands with the girls after dinner: I'm going to drive the long route that leads me along the meandering street with the house that burns a wood stove.  I'm going to slow down, breathe deeply, and pay attention to something so simple -- the warmth of a smell.

I can't just enjoy life when I'm entirely caught up.  (Being caught up is lovely, mind you, for the four minutes that it lasts.)

In the meantime -- in this mess of unfinished business that characterizes the most typical of days -- I'm going to hug my kids, love my husband, and breathe in the scent of that wood stove.

I'm going to choose joy, even when I'm behind.

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  1. I really enjoyed reading this... I have been posting about similar topics of late - never being caught up and the realization that I need to slow down and embrace the present... I can relate and am glad to no someone else is there as well, feelig the same way!

  2. smoothstonesDecember 07, 2012

    I aim for controlled chaos, at best. I just beat it back, Sister: the piles of...everything. If I set "caught up" as a goal (even close to "caught up"), I'd need meds. I'm not even kidding or being melodramatic. I just beat it back. I control that chaos just a little, and then I let it go. 

  3. Loved reading this...  

    I think my goal is to always remember the small stuff, cause that's what your child will remember...my dishes will wait, my daughter's childhood won't

  4. Amber, yes, glad to hear that this resonates (and glad that you're writing about it, too!)

  5. I'm going to repeat this to myself, "Just beat it back.... just beat it back."  (My new mantra.) 

  6. "My dishes will wait, my daughter's childhood won't."  Amen!


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