I woke this past Saturday morning in my own bed, not needing to jump up and rush to—anything. Donny headed off to golf, a well-deserved break after solo parenting for the week while I was on Madeline Island. So I got up, meditated, made a pot of decaf, and began unloading the dishwasher, waiting for my little people to wake up. I’d missed them.
The retreat at MISA was fabulous. What a gift to be surrounded by so many warm and smart and talented women writers for five days. But it was also exhausting. And I always forget that. Each time I head off to lead a retreat, I think, oh I’ll be able to get some of my own work done throughout the week. But it’s just not possible. If I want to meditate or run before our first meeting of the day, I need to get up pretty early, and that doesn’t leave time for writing or editing. Then the rest of the day is filled with group meetings and individual conferences. (And one evening a cruise around the Apostle Islands.) I was so tired by the end of each day (after the tears and laughter and wine and more tears and laughter and wine), that all I was capable of doing was lying in bed, watching Street Dance and Street Dance 2 on my phone. (Seriously.) They were somehow just what I needed. Then I slept, got up and repeated.
I was thrilled to get home to my family on Friday night. Donny had cleaned the house, and was ready to put steak on the grill when I walked in the door. I squeezed my girls and my nephew, who was over playing. Then my sister and nieces came over, then my dad. It was a lovely welcome home, and I just wanted to revel in family, in home.
The next morning, when I heard Zoë’s footsteps on the stairs, I paused my unloading of the dishes and went into the living room and swept her up into a tight hug. And when Stella came down a few minutes later, I did the same with her. Then I made them scrambled eggs and toast, standing at the stove, just happy to push eggs around in a pan for my daughters.
I’ve tried to do that this week—appreciate the small things, take deep breaths, trust that everything will get done. But “everything” this summer is a lot. On Friday I head out again, this time to Ashland’s MFA program for TWO weeks. I have been prepping: reading student work, adjusting my syllabi, and reviewing the faculty handbook, trying to make sure I’m not missing anything. I’ve also been writing this week, working on a new chapter of the autism/running book I’m ghostwriting/co-writing. I need to be plugging along furiously on that book because…..drumroll….it found a home! Triumph Books will publish it next spring, in time for Autism Awareness Month. All very exciting, of course, but it means my nose will be to the grindstone all fall. I can do it. I can do it. (My new chant.)
But for now, this week, for these few days, I am trying to soak up Donny and the girls, to squeeze them tight and imprint on them my love. I am trying to appreciate the small things and the not-so-small things so I can hold those in my heart as I make the long drive to Ashland on Friday.
What are the little things you are appreciating this week?