What I’m Taking With Me

September 24, 2017

Photo by the amazing Brandon Peterson.

Photo by the amazing Brandon Peterson.

Once the grades are submitted and I’ve turned in the yellow checkout list to our administrative assistant, I am a stay at home mom. I am a full-time mom all year round, but when my students exit the building for the summer, my day-to-day looks very different. For two months my role as mother takes on a different hue.

That’s a delicate way to put it.

What actually happens is we all go from 150 mph, jumping from one fulfilling part of our lives to the next, filling each day to the brim of creative tasks and lessons to day care pick-ups and walks and five different text message threads and a last minute trip to Sprouts. Then it’s dinner and maybe a kitchen clean-up and oh my gosh we still have dogs and then bed time. It’s exhausting and full, full, full.

And then it just stops. Like a slamming of the breaks when you realize you’ve been looking at your kid in the backseat for too long and the car in front of you has bright red lights just a few feet ahead of you. A halting, abrupt, stop.

This jarring jolt that propels us from one side of our lives to the next doesn’t allow much room for transition, so we just sort of pick up where we can. There were moments this summer where I tried to plan all of our fun. I sketched out a Summer 2017 Bucket List on some butcher paper and we crossed them off one by one. Trips to the zoo, to Yosemite, to our friends’ house, and to the lake ten times over. Those were really fun moments that came with even better pictures. Will and I with elephants behind us, tunnel view as our landscape, and traipsing around the backyard of my childhood friend’s backyard. It was a rich, rich summer. 

Those planned, rich moments were beautiful. I loved them and my stir-crazy soul needed them. However, aside from the Chatbooks photo book I will make with them, they will stand in time as our Summer 2017 Bucket List moments.

There were, however, other moments that will come with me. These are the moments where my phone wasn’t within reach, that weren’t listed in green on the butcher paper, that didn’t come with a plan but came with time.

One happened on a Tuesday at noon. We had just finished up a bar, yogurt, and string cheese, and we began our nap-time routine. Will grabbed his binkie from inside his pack and play and met me in my room. He climbed up into bed and I changed his diaper, not rushing the routine. I brought in the Curious George anthology and he was so tired he obliged to my book suggestion, which was a miracle in and of itself. I opened to the table of contents and he picked the story he wanted: the one with the books.

I read the story, voices and inflections and all, pausing to hear him interact with the characters. About the time George was in a serious quagmire, I felt Will’s breathing slow and the weight of his body fell deeper into the comforter below his back. I craned my neck to gently look and his eyes were blinking, heavy under the weight of his sleepy state.

I kept reading about how George ended up rallying all the kids to put away books and turned the whole mess into a success and how his friend in the yellow hat arrived at just the right time. Will murmured “I need my choo choo trains” and then he turned towards me, hand on my shoulder and fell asleep. I closed my eyes and told myself to remember this, remember the feeling of the nothing-ness of this moment and how it made my heart swell with gratitude.

Another moment that stands out to me happened at the end of summer. It was 4:00 and we needed to get out of our camp house. We walked down to the meadow where the girls were slip and sliding in garbage bags. Will played with a few staff members while I breathed in a moment getting to watch other kids play and staff members play along with them, war paint and all.

Then everyone scattered to get ready for dinner and it was just Will and I, again. Just us two in the meadow. I had his ball and his stick, that was it. He showed me how to dig for treasure like Swamp taught him, so we did. Then he said he wanted to run, so I watched my little ginger run from one side of the meadow to the next, picturing the moments where there are hundreds of kids playing on the meadow at once, but remembering that right now it’s just the two of us. It was quiet, save for the sound of silence from the mountains and the trees, and the sound of the waterfall just a few yards behind us. The trees lined up around us as if to encase us in this moment together, quietly telling me that this is not every day.

As a work-outside-the-home mom, this is not our normal routine. I mean, of course our house doesn’t have Pine Trees lining our tender moments, there is no waterfall in our backyard, and I’m out of the house between 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. five days a week.

But, the slowness there is within reach here. This in-the-moment, noise-died-down can happen. I can pull the moment with my bare hands and bring that sense of being to reality, to our home, to our family.

And this is what I want to take with me as the school year begins. The simple belief that slowness can happen in our everyday as long as I create the space for it. No, I don’t put him down for a nap every day, but I do have the choice to turn “witching hour” into low-expectation hour, wherein my only goal is to connect, even if some of that time is fighting the impatience of my mind.

What happens when I choose to create this slowness is the deep, wholehearted with-ness that I want to carry in me and with my family. When I am with Will and have zero expectation but to connect and see him, I get to  drink in his blinks and his murmurs, how the hair thickens up at the nape of his neck, how his lips curl when he focuses on coloring or connecting his trains, how he focuses and observes in a new setting, and how his eyes light up when he sees his dad walking towards us.

In this moment, my mind isn’t thinking about to-do lists and or drafting email responses. I am here, mind, body, and spirit.

My job is exciting and full of both creativity and typical tasks. But I still have choices to make with the time I have with Kasey and Will each day. My hope is that this year I don’t get it, but I at least practice it. Practice slowing down and simplifying the expectations I have for what I can get done.

I want to exercise the separation and compartmentalizing that happens when I believe Brian Andreas when he says “Everything changed the day she realized there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”

Exactly enough time. For Kasey, for Will, for life, for the present, for us.

Every day, there is exactly enough time. I just need to show up to make that true.

Work with me

share this post

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

Photo by the amazing Brandon Peterson.

Photo by the amazing Brandon Peterson.

Once the grades are submitted and I’ve turned in the yellow checkout list to our administrative assistant, I am a stay at home mom. I am a full-time mom all year round, but when my students exit the building for the summer, my day-to-day looks very different. For two months my role as mother takes on a different hue.

That’s a delicate way to put it.

What actually happens is we all go from 150 mph, jumping from one fulfilling part of our lives to the next, filling each day to the brim of creative tasks and lessons to day care pick-ups and walks and five different text message threads and a last minute trip to Sprouts. Then it’s dinner and maybe a kitchen clean-up and oh my gosh we still have dogs and then bed time. It’s exhausting and full, full, full.

And then it just stops. Like a slamming of the breaks when you realize you’ve been looking at your kid in the backseat for too long and the car in front of you has bright red lights just a few feet ahead of you. A halting, abrupt, stop.

This jarring jolt that propels us from one side of our lives to the next doesn’t allow much room for transition, so we just sort of pick up where we can. There were moments this summer where I tried to plan all of our fun. I sketched out a Summer 2017 Bucket List on some butcher paper and we crossed them off one by one. Trips to the zoo, to Yosemite, to our friends’ house, and to the lake ten times over. Those were really fun moments that came with even better pictures. Will and I with elephants behind us, tunnel view as our landscape, and traipsing around the backyard of my childhood friend’s backyard. It was a rich, rich summer. 

Those planned, rich moments were beautiful. I loved them and my stir-crazy soul needed them. However, aside from the Chatbooks photo book I will make with them, they will stand in time as our Summer 2017 Bucket List moments.

There were, however, other moments that will come with me. These are the moments where my phone wasn’t within reach, that weren’t listed in green on the butcher paper, that didn’t come with a plan but came with time.

One happened on a Tuesday at noon. We had just finished up a bar, yogurt, and string cheese, and we began our nap-time routine. Will grabbed his binkie from inside his pack and play and met me in my room. He climbed up into bed and I changed his diaper, not rushing the routine. I brought in the Curious George anthology and he was so tired he obliged to my book suggestion, which was a miracle in and of itself. I opened to the table of contents and he picked the story he wanted: the one with the books.

I read the story, voices and inflections and all, pausing to hear him interact with the characters. About the time George was in a serious quagmire, I felt Will’s breathing slow and the weight of his body fell deeper into the comforter below his back. I craned my neck to gently look and his eyes were blinking, heavy under the weight of his sleepy state.

I kept reading about how George ended up rallying all the kids to put away books and turned the whole mess into a success and how his friend in the yellow hat arrived at just the right time. Will murmured “I need my choo choo trains” and then he turned towards me, hand on my shoulder and fell asleep. I closed my eyes and told myself to remember this, remember the feeling of the nothing-ness of this moment and how it made my heart swell with gratitude.

Another moment that stands out to me happened at the end of summer. It was 4:00 and we needed to get out of our camp house. We walked down to the meadow where the girls were slip and sliding in garbage bags. Will played with a few staff members while I breathed in a moment getting to watch other kids play and staff members play along with them, war paint and all.

Then everyone scattered to get ready for dinner and it was just Will and I, again. Just us two in the meadow. I had his ball and his stick, that was it. He showed me how to dig for treasure like Swamp taught him, so we did. Then he said he wanted to run, so I watched my little ginger run from one side of the meadow to the next, picturing the moments where there are hundreds of kids playing on the meadow at once, but remembering that right now it’s just the two of us. It was quiet, save for the sound of silence from the mountains and the trees, and the sound of the waterfall just a few yards behind us. The trees lined up around us as if to encase us in this moment together, quietly telling me that this is not every day.

As a work-outside-the-home mom, this is not our normal routine. I mean, of course our house doesn’t have Pine Trees lining our tender moments, there is no waterfall in our backyard, and I’m out of the house between 6:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. five days a week.

But, the slowness there is within reach here. This in-the-moment, noise-died-down can happen. I can pull the moment with my bare hands and bring that sense of being to reality, to our home, to our family.

And this is what I want to take with me as the school year begins. The simple belief that slowness can happen in our everyday as long as I create the space for it. No, I don’t put him down for a nap every day, but I do have the choice to turn “witching hour” into low-expectation hour, wherein my only goal is to connect, even if some of that time is fighting the impatience of my mind.

What happens when I choose to create this slowness is the deep, wholehearted with-ness that I want to carry in me and with my family. When I am with Will and have zero expectation but to connect and see him, I get to  drink in his blinks and his murmurs, how the hair thickens up at the nape of his neck, how his lips curl when he focuses on coloring or connecting his trains, how he focuses and observes in a new setting, and how his eyes light up when he sees his dad walking towards us.

In this moment, my mind isn’t thinking about to-do lists and or drafting email responses. I am here, mind, body, and spirit.

My job is exciting and full of both creativity and typical tasks. But I still have choices to make with the time I have with Kasey and Will each day. My hope is that this year I don’t get it, but I at least practice it. Practice slowing down and simplifying the expectations I have for what I can get done.

I want to exercise the separation and compartmentalizing that happens when I believe Brian Andreas when he says “Everything changed the day she realized there was exactly enough time for the important things in her life.”

Exactly enough time. For Kasey, for Will, for life, for the present, for us.

Every day, there is exactly enough time. I just need to show up to make that true.

Work with me

hey, i'm corrie!

I help people-driven companies, large and small, connect with their kind of people with brand voice strategy + personalized copy. A believer in public schools and Ted Lasso, I love getting to champion the best version of your brand. 

share this post

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