“I am so busy doing nothing…that the idea of doing anything – which as you know, always leads to something – cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.” – Jerry Seinfeld
When I look ahead on a calendar, it is this mythical space that I can fill with play dates and classes and library talks paying absolutely no mind to the fact that I will almost always lament packing so much into my day when the time comes and want to just curl up and stay home.
It’s not that I’m depressed or wish to hermit myself. I just tend to feel a push-pull between my extroverted planning brain and my introverted in-the-moment brain. I had planned that Day Three without husband/Dad would be scheduled to the hilt. If I could keep our day busy then we’d be picking him up from the airport in no time.
Our first adventure was a walk to the local hardware giant where they would be holding a kids’ workshop. I RSVP’ed online, and followed the staff’s advice to get there a few minutes early. The only thing being early birds confirmed was how useless the corporate lines of communication can be; no one knew where it was going to be held. One staff had told me it was by the exit door. Another directed me to the break room. Once a few families accumulated at the break room, another staff lead us to the lumber section where there was indeed a cordoned-off area for kid-crafting madness.
We were given a little package, table space, and aprons and might end up with something resembling a car afterwards. Now my incredible oversight was that this activity started out with a lot of hammering. More and more families showed up and more and more hammering was done, sending my daughter inwards and under my wing. She gets maxed out in loud places, but boy howdy, that little trooper stuck by my side and helped me get the car pieces together. Now most times I am floundering in parenting and feeling like I am doing it all wrong, but I was proud to have pulled her into the present moment by asking her to give us some magic words to inspire some effective hammering. Once we made it to the paint station, it was smooth sailing. Once she overheard others say how cool her car turned out, she was positively giddy.
Now I had naively scheduled the crafting activity for three hours on my calendar. Zoinks. I even brought snacks. The paint dried, we grabbed a couple of balloons, and endured the pain of losing one on the walk home all in an hour-and-a-half. We had time to spread our wings. After a bite to eat, we received an invitation for a play date in the community we were traveling to for our next event. We’d need to take a ferry there, so it was looking like it would be a short play date. After all, we needed to go to the library…or did we. We hopped in the car and headed straight for the ferry. The ferry ride got us energized, and made us feel like navigating to our friends’ home was indeed a new adventure.
The play date came and went with a snap, and we were off to a storytelling festival for the evening with our play date pals. Now this family had been our neighbors over the last year, but had moved at the end of the summer to enjoy island life. Why hadn’t I looked them up over the last five months? Our kids are friends and I enjoy the couple’s joie de vivre and lust for life. Again, I was seeing the beauty of what connections are made when someone extends the invitation. I need to be extending the invitation to others more in my life. The storytelling event was sweet and lovely, and I really enjoyed going with this other family.
A sleepy grumbling son and a stumble-in-the-dark walk back to the car later, and we were headed back to the ferry to get back to our rock. After ferry waits and a long storytelling fest of my own (in the car), we were headed towards the airport to pick up my husband. He texted as soon as we pulled up to the cell lot, and we were united once again.
When you’re on your own, do you plan or take a more spontaneous approach?