Thursday, September 17, 2009

Downtime

I am a "Type A" person. I know, this comes as a huge surprise to you all, a shock no doubt.
But, its true. I am fairly high energy, intense, and feel guilty if I am not doing something productive, or at least something that I can indulge in and justify. I have a constant "to do" list scrolling through my head...like a bizarre gerbil mill on speed: spinning spinning spinning. Fun, no? Not always.....

Why, you ask, am I indulging in this tedious reflection? Well, it is hitting me smack in my forehead that this very trait is a huge link, or broken link, in the process of adjusting. I know, I hear you: "Doh!" But there you have it.

Every time I allow myself, ok, force myself, to sloooowwwwww down and just, um, BE, with the kids (particularly the one newly home, now, years ago, whenever, tho this is just key with teens too) it is better. It can be just hanging with them, spending time next to them. But really, too often I tend to kind of slot that into MY agenda of work and errands and so on and consider that, that "downtime", checked off my list. Yup, done. Well, kind of. But the beauty and value of downtime unfolds when the downtime is really, um, down. By "down" I mean, of course, chilling out. Hanging with them, talking easy and slow. With, and this is key for us Type A's, NO AGENDA.


Whoa.
I know.


Sounds so easy and yet, so not. But when I can smack myself and allow myself to do this, to just let it be them directing the conversation, talking slowly, thinking, listening....it is so rewarding. And I like to think its rewarding for us both. If its with a baby or toddler or little one, you know its a great thing because they practically giggle or purr with contentment. But with an older child, ok, our new older daughter...it is just so important I think. I have been able to find and carve out a couple of these times in the past few days. They have been much needed; issues are arising of late. But those times, sitting on the deck in the late afternoon being lazy and answering any question that Marta lobs....sitting together in the art room, sorting pins (of all things, sounds weird, a spill), and then just yakking in two languages as lazily as possible.....those times feel so much better. They are building connections I believe. For both of us. And for that, that downtime is worth gold. Even my type A gerbil mill mind can be shushed and relish that.


We goal oriented moms (ok, sigh, me) tend to want to build the family, piece by piece, dinner by dinner, laundry load by car load. But what it is too easy for me to forget, is that the goal is not just the shell of the family to be in place, but the heart of it.
And that takes the downtime. That takes the willingness to just be there: lazy, accepting, quiet. It's a tough thing to do, too often. But now and then, we luck out, I remember, we grab that time.
We've begun.

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