Sunday, February 5, 2012

Putting on the brakes

Somewhere along the way, my life sped up to warp speed. I am always overbooked, never any margin. I remember one day when a five minute delay in the morning morphed into a seventy minute delay by the end of the day.

It taught me to go faster, not to do less, because the demands and chores just kept expanding.

Friday the lesson came.

I had a doctor's appointment that ended at 4. That gave me 60 minutes to make my follow up appointment, pick up my mother at her assisted living to go buy a new wallet because she lost hers, pick up two teenagers, and get everyone to one of another appointment 30 minutes away by 5 pm.

It took 6 minutes waiting to make an appointment before I had to give up. I called my mom and said "Be ready in the lobby, there in five." Of course, that didn't fly, so I had to park, go to the third floor to get her, and wait while she found her purse and room key. Another seven minutes had vanished.

My stress level was rising.

I called the boys to say I was on my way and got the bad news that they were not together. Another eighteen minutes gone.

I finally have everyone in the car with fifteen minutes to get there.

The freeway is backed up.

Streets, the only option.

Miraculously, the lights were with me. Three minutes late. Score!

Immediately following the appointment, we all had to meet my daughter at the mall to help her with the babies while they got their pictures taken. I had ten minutes to get twenty minutes away.

But my mom was hungry. We drove through and ordered a sandwich. She couldn't figure out how to eat it because it was cut in half. I said eat one half then the other.

She couldn't put half in her lap in the wrapper while she ate the other half. I put it in my purse. That definitely confused her.

She is happily eating her sandwich as I race to the photo appointment. I get there, now fifteen minutes late, and tell everyone to hurry. As I pick up my purse, my mom asks what's in my purse.

"Your sandwich."

"I want it. I'm still hungry"

"OK, but you'll have to eat it fast on the way to the appointment."

"OK, I do it."

I jump out of the car and start to go, then realize she's not with me.

I walk back to the car, where she is eating her sandwich, still seatbelted in.

"Mom, what are you doing?"

"What you said. I am eating fast on the way."

The big aha hit. My mother can no longer be hurried, she can't do things in new or novel ways. She needs to eat how she knows to eat and I need to chill out.

We ended up missing the appointment, but helped entertain the babies while my daughter chose the pictures. And that was enough. It was all I could do.

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