February 16th, 2016
The alarm rings, and I slowly convince myself to get out of bed. It’s later than expected, so I hurry out of the house, skipping breakfast. Daughter and husband are still asleep.
I rush up the sidewalk as fast as I can towards the bus stop. I see the top of the bus coming over the hill, and I run full tilt to get there in time, lugging my ball and chain laptop over my shoulder. I make it to the bus and check work emails and Facebook and personal email and Instagram while the bus drives downtown.
Twenty minutes later, I exit the bus and walk 6 blocks to work. I notice the time and walk a little faster. I stop to buy a coffee and yogurt – not enough time for anything special. I make it to my desk in time to take off my coat and run to a meeting. Thirty minutes later, I eat my yogurt at my desk and scroll through new emails before another meeting begins.
After some work time, I go to buy lunch. Sometimes I get a moment to write or peruse online articles, but today is not one of those days. I eat at my desk and prep for a 1pm conference call. I put myself on mute and finish my lunch while listening to the call.
A few more hours of work trickle by, while answering urgent emails. An important one comes through: A project I was working on was suddenly delayed. I feel thwarted, as I had been working on it all day. I shift gears and start to work on something else. I get hungry, but am too absorbed in my tasks to get up from my desk.
My phone rings – it’s my husband. My daughter is crying in the background. “When are you leaving work?” he asks. “Could you swing by the store on your way? What do I make for dinner?” I frown as I look at the clock. It’s already 5pm.
“I’m leaving soon, don’t worry,” I say. “Yes, I’ll stop at the store.”
I try to get through the rest of what I was working on, but a few emails pop in that I need to answer. I remember I promised to send an email at the end of the day, but it’s already 5:25, and I need to leave. I decide to write the email from home. I pack up and leave the office.
I walk six blocks back to the bus stop. The next bus comes in 8 minutes. I scroll through email and Facebook and Instagram until the bus comes. I get on and continue scrolling. The bus slowly packs full of commuters and students for 20 minutes. I turn off my phone and rest my eyes.
I ride the bus one stop further than I usually do, and grab some groceries from the store up the street. “Double bag them please,” I say, “I’m walking home.” They oblige. The milk is heavy, but not as heavy as my laptop. I put on my gloves and head out the door.
I walk the four blocks to my house down the street. It’s a little icy, so I take it slow. It’s after 6pm. I’ve been out of the house since 8am. I stop and look up at my house from the street and take a deep breath. I know this is my last silent moment before crossing the threshold into chaos again. My daughter wanting to spend time with me. My husband ready to leave and get out. The dog demanding to play.
Breathe in. Breathe out. The moon was out and shining already.
I climb the stairs, open the door and smile. My time will wait. My life is for them at this moment. I will have to answer and send that email later. I will have time to write and read my book later. I can watch Netflix later. I can run to the store later. I will see my friends later.
My daughter’s face lights up when I come in the house. The dog runs around excitedly in circles. My husband looks relieved.
These days are busy and full and exhausting. It’s hard to be mindful. It’s hard to stay present. But I try. I do it for them, and I do it for me. I can’t do anything else.
The world peers in with loving glances. I am suddenly grateful for my exhausting days. Grateful for my husband and daughter and demanding dog. Grateful I have a moment to stand still in the moonlight. On the outside looking in. Grateful for the world. Grateful for this life.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Love.