And now I have a moment to sit down and write.
It’s been that kind of week. I feel like I started a new job. The initial rush and excitement of taking on a new task was fuel enough. In addition the new year has brought a wave of calls into our support department. Every day this week I hit the ground running and didn’t stop until I was in bed. I never understood how people became engulfed by their jobs. Until this week. If I didn’t make myself stop, make myself focus on Jenn and Penelope, intentionally stay away from the work email, I would have gotten pulled under by the undertow of business. The experience has been a great reminder of what I learned from so many books and seminars on time management: you can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself.
The word “bandwidth” has been circling around my brain. I can see how successful people have more of it than others. They can juggle so many things simultaneously. When mere mortals such as I look at their lives and accomplishments we say “How do you do it Ryan Seacrest?” I’m convinced I can increase my bandwidth, and already have compared to the me of a few years ago. But I want more!!! I want to get it all done.
Last night I told Jenn there are moments when I say to myself “In forty years you will look back and remember this moment. And everything that has happened will seem to have passed by in the blink of any eye.” First, I hope I make it that far. I have my doubts every day I try to merge onto I-285. I say that half in jest, and half with the realization that my life could be over any day. Jenn’s always said I have morbid thoughts. I believe I’m just being realistic. I know that every moment I have is precious.
Through all the activity at work there were two moments this week that made me pause. The first occurred as I was walking away from my desk, moving double time to get somewhere. I passed a fellow manager when he asked “How old’s your daughter?”. I smiled, stopping for a moment. I wasn’t in a rush anymore. I was glowing inside when I answered “Almost three years old.”
“You just made my day.” I told him. It was true. Everything I was doing, all the activity and busyness was reset.
On Friday a few employees on their lunch break were in the lounge discussing marriage and children. One of the women said they would trade their career for a husband and children. As I was getting water someone asked me how I felt about the family gig.
“Marrying Jenn was the best decision I made. Having Penelope was the next best. I wouldn’t change it for any thing.”
A quick high-five was exchanged and I went back to my desk. It was another reminder not to take for granted what I have in my life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want more. Would I like to have our house and car paid off? Of course! Would I like to be a successful author! Yes (but I’d have to write something to be published first). Those things don’t keep me up at night or have me in knots about what I should have done differently in life.
Jenn and her mother went out today. I took Penelope to IKEA, intent on getting a floating shelf to house our box sets. Right now they are piled on one another and difficult to get to, not to mention unsightly. The store that never seems to run out of stock had no floating shelves in the size and color I wanted. I didn’t leave disappointed though. We spent half an hour in the Children’s department. Penelope looked at the beds, pulling back covers but never got in. She avoided the child-size egg chairs, just like the last time we were there and opened the doors on all the children’s furniture.
A simple plastic rocker sat on the floor surrounded by bean bag ladybugs, tables, and strollers. Penelope got on, keeping her feet on the ground. I knelt down and lifted her tiny foot up and placed it on the side of the rocker. “Here you go sweetie, you’ll enjoy this more.” I started rocking her and she smiled. Her cautious nature was evident but she went with it. “All done” she said.
We got up and went to another toy. Moments later she was back at the rocker. She didn’t need my assistance this time. She mounted and rocked. I sat down on a chair designed for someone thirty years younger and watched. I’m thrilled that she’s enjoying being a child. Probably because I’m living it vicariously, delighted when she’s delighted, laughing when she laughs.
As we walked through the herd I kept a finger on the nape of her neck or on the back of her shirt. Ever vigilant. When she asked to be picked up I lifted her into my arms with satisfaction. I felt the weight of another month and wondered how long I would be able to carry her around. I thought about how disappointed I’m going to be when I no longer can, either due to age or lack of strength.
Before heading home we ate frozen yogurt and a slice of pizza, in that order. Sometimes you have to eat dessert first. I took so many pictures, hoping a few would turn out.
At home she refused to give in to her exhaustion. After an hour in her crib she was still talking to herself. I paused the (family friendly) movie I was watching and got her. “OK, you’re going to lay in mommy and daddy’s bed while I finish this movie. If you can’t stay in the bed you’re going back to your own bed.” An empty threat. I don’t even know why I said this. I wasn’t going to put her back. For the next hour Penelope wriggled around next to me or attempted to crawl away. I would grab a leg and pull her back. This got her wound up even more since she loved being dragged back. After she found out what would happen the first time she kept trying to get away, sure I would keep her from going too far.