Every day, what seems like all day, and certainly every minute spent with Bean, I am rushing. There are a lot of things to do in a day.
So many things have to happen on time. Getting to work, for example. Bedtime (within reason). Often in the mornings or evenings I’m hurrying my little angel to move a little faster. Finish what she’s doing. More than often I’m telling her: Hurry, sweetie. We’re late. Not because I’ve gotten up late or because I’m inherently disorganized, but because things just take time.
Weekends are similar. Since we only have every second one together, I try to fit the fun and goodness, all of the experiences I want to have with my daughter, into something akin to a screenplay trying not to be an insult to the book, which may have been longer.
To some extent, this works. The urging for swiftness. Keeping a staccato pace with good humour and lots of silly jokes with my kid to make it a game, to distract her from her dawdling, to keep pace with our animated life.
I’ve often felt, however, that even though I’ve tricked, coaxed, bribed, led her into whatever-it-is we’re doing, I’m kind of never letting her finish a train of thought. I’m interrupting her flow, even if her flow is just to dawdle, I’m jumping in to bring her into my world of stuff that has to happen about five minutes ago.
So on Monday – Thanksgiving day (in Canada) – I tried a whole day of non-rushing. I let her jump in a puddle until the puddle was splashed right out. I let her stay in the bath long after the water had cooled. I didn’t make her eat any more bites of her dinner than she wanted, and I didn’t rush her on our evening walk, even when she was inspecting every slab of the sidewalk looking for ‘signs’.
I will not lie. There were a couple of things I would have liked to do yesterday in lieu of lengthy navel gazing. I felt myself get frustrated more than once as I stood at puddle’s edge for going on 30-minutes or stopped for a particularly fascinating divot in a paving stone. Even with the breathtaking cuteness of my imaginative daughter, I became just a bit bored here and there.
For Bean, the day was magic. She told me she loved me about half a dozen times before bed, and went to sleep without a peep. For her this was The Bliss. She had a whole day with me. With my full attention. Doing stuff she wanted. Without being rushed or interrupted. Playing through her games and imaginings.
It made me vow to myself that once a month, at least, we’ll do this. Bean day. Where I follow her for a change, and let her play out her thoughts.
It also occurs to me that maybe this is one of the gifts of being a solo parent with one kid, for both her and I. While there are pockets of time that are circumstantially more frantic – like most things – there is some balance in which there is also, just maybe, a little more room. And in that space we can practice non-rushing. It’s an art; at least for one of us.