About 20 minutes ago I told my kids, “I am not available right now.”
Before doing so, I told my son in private that I needed some time to get dressed and he needed to find something to do — anything — except fight with his sister or watch tv (or burn the house down). He seemed to understand. Then I told my daughter in private the same thing. She said, “Ok I will babysit my brother.” Good. She has a purpose.
At first they followed me down the hall, I clad in my bathrobe, leggings and morning breath. When I entered my bedroom I turned around and told them. “Ok, thanks guys. Go play. Close the door. I am not available.”
Since then I have blasted my music, used the toilet, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and got dressed. I made purposeful choices about what I am wearing today.
- A purple Nike fleece that I got at Goodwill for $4 to remind me that not everything in life has to be new and expensive.
- A gray t-shirt underneath that I got from a 5K I ran last August to remind me that life is fragile. The 5K was in honor of one of the victims of the April 16th shooting at Virginia Tech.
- Lucky brand jeans that I bought five years ago that are faded, have a huge hole in the left knee to remind me of the good times I have had wearing them, including the time I literally peed my pants in them after tailgating at a football game all day and realizing that the last beer I drank was a HUGE mistake.
- A purple bra to remind me of Jesus. Hello, it was Easter yesterday.
- My purple socks that read “I gave a fuck once,” to remind myself that I am flawed and I need not judge myself against the rest of the world. (Plus they go with the purple theme).
- Ragged slippers from L.L. Bean to remind me of the comfort of being at home.
- A brown belt that I have had forever to remind me that some things in life are trusty and long-lasting.
- Bronze underwear that have no relevance to remind me that not everything has to be meaningful.
- Make-up to remind me that it feels good to look pretty.
- Hair on top of head in a messy ponytail to remind me that I am comfortable with an unpolished look.
I like the way I look and feel today. I feel like me. Tomorrow I may choose an outfit that is the exact antitheses of what I am wearing today and still feel like me. That’s cool. Just as long as in my core I stay true to myself, no matter what the outfit.
I have to get back to my kids momentarily. Because even though they are playing cooperatively, I have to stay one step ahead of them before the ruckus begins. It’s kind of like what my old boss said about teaching, “Just stay one day of your students and you’ll be fine.” And what I learned about training for half-marathons, “End your long runs while you still have a little energy left, that way you won’t get injured or burnt out.”
One step ahead of them. That’s the best I can hope for.
(Side bar: My son is hiding the Easter baskets and my daughter is looking for them. She just asked him to give her a “hut” instead of hint.)
I am grateful for their imagination, and it’s amazing what they are capable of when I take a minute to get down to their level and tell them the expectation. They have definitely owned me over the last few days when I had the flu. They’ve watched a lot of TV and eaten a lot of candy, but I am putting the brakes on all of that.
This week we’ll work on nutrition and exercise. That goes for me, too. I am ready to face the day — the beginning of a new season, my 36th year, and a healthier mind & body.
Ok. I am available. Who wants lunch?