No matter how hard we try not to, we constantly over-schedule ourselves. My parents are 79 and 82 and even they find themselves running from Pilates to breakfast with friends, and then to their staple triangle of doctors, church, and grocery shopping. Glance at any parent today and whether they have one or twelve children, they are on the go. They scald to their destinations like a baseball player slides into home as the verdict “Safe!” looms in the dust. Looks of relief laced with exhaustion appear on their faces as they plop in their waiting chairs, poised for the next leg of their parental race. Personally, I zoom around just like the next guy, kids in tow, dropping off, picking up, and carpooling precious cargo from school to swim, baseball, church, then mountain biking.
Yesterday, we had a hat trick day. Three simultaneous events, and the natural occurrence of a scheduling overlap. So, we had our timing precisely coordinated. The plan: as my husband mountain biked with our son, I would take our daughter to swim, then our youngest to his baseball game. During batting practice, I would run for 30 minutes around the field, hovering like an Army Black Hawk helicopter, then go pick up our daughter from swim. Therefore, leaving one twenty minute window where I would not be at the baseball field, but would alert the coaches I would be right back.
You may have peeked through this 20-minute window before.
Here’s what it is:
- It’s the 20 minutes of time when you are fairly confident your child will be okay if you leave them in a public place with people they know and parents you trust.
- It’s the same 20 minutes of time you will panic every second you leave your child alone at a location while you are in transit to collect other family members.
- It’s the exact 20 minutes you will pray your child doesn’t get pummeled with a ball, bat, lacrosse stick, swim fin, or any other object causing the impending concussion adolescents suffer in today’s sports world.
- Finally, it’s the 20 minutes you drive soooo carefully as to not get pulled over or cause a fender bender, completely ruining the carefully manicured plan you are in the middle of implementing.
Fortunately, I made it back in 19 minutes and as soon as I saw my son in the dugout he exclaimed,
“You missed it! I just hit an inside-the-park home run!”
Of course I did. What could possibly happen in 20 minutes?
As a parent, I have trained myself to think the worst, you know the thinking…your child says the wine at church “is really tasty” and you begin budgeting time for AA meetings. OR your child loves high-speed, precarious bike riding, which in your mind is the inevitable precursor to a teenage driver who cruises way too fast on I-75, so you begin bargaining with God now. And clearly addiction to sugar equals future drug problems. You get the gist?
Even though I consider myself a half-full kinda gal, I never thought something amazing would happen during the 20 minute window. But it did, and I couldn’t be more grateful it was positive (thanks God for covering the our overlap). On the heels of our son’s announcement of his hit, our daughter, who would rather have a root canal than watch a two-hour baseball game declared, “See! It’s good luck when we’re not here! We should definitely go home. It’s in everyone’s best interest.” “We’re staying, I’ll bet you he can do it again!” I announced.
As our daughter rolled her eyes all the way to the bleachers and set up her studying work space, our family mountain bikers hustled in from the parking lot questioning what they missed. “Just 20 minutes” I said. Right then, our home run hitter called them over to the dugout for a play by play. I beamed as I heard him exclaim “Then I slid into home!”
Yup, you just never know what can happen in twenty minutes. If you have the overlap:
- Let trusted adults know the plan
- Drive safely
- Pray for all things positive
Who would have thought, the first at bat my husband and I miss, and it’s a home run!
DIG DEEP: Even if you only have 30 minutes while you wait for batting practice or your child’s orthodontist appointment, walk or run around the parking lot or field. Movement makes moms more cheerful.
BACK POCKET PRAYER (keep this prayer in your “back pocket” as you go through your week):
Clear clutter in your home and give away anything you are not using. In the words of Mother Theresa: