We moved over the weekend. And we’d been working on this move – around all of our normal work and teaching and baby-wrangling – for a good month beforehand. So for weeks there has always been a new busywork project at hand. Packing boxes,
wading through phone trees calling utility companies, buying paint and blinds, changing locks, pricing appliances, scraping bathtub caulk, gutting said bathtub, hanging a new surround, installing curtain rods, lugging boxes around, searching fruitlessly for the one cable that would actually make Sesame Street possible – everything else in my life has been on hold.
At this point it feels like I have always been running around multitasking with projects all around me in various stages of incomplete. I walk into the kitchen and remember that I was about to hang pantry shelves. I go in search of the drill and find it in the bathroom with Steve, who immediately recruits me to hold a big piece of plastic up to the tub so he can make arcane marks on it. When I escape I find that Zoe has pulled all of her books out onto the floor and wants to read them all at once. We read and I can sense a nap coming on, so I hurry to the kitchen in hopes of getting some lunch into her before she konks out. There I notice the pantry shelves that I was about to hang. Also a bag of groceries that I dimly remember buying and meaning to refrigerate, a hand sander sitting idly next to the patch of spackle on the wall, and the silence which means that the washing machine has finished its cycle and the clothes need to be transferred.
Until about a week ago I was at least managing to practice daily, and I had sacrificed running and writing for pleasure a good week prior to that. I know everything will settle down, but it certainly hasn’t yet.
That’s why it was a wonderful treat to drive over to Valparaiso yesterday for my usual long day of teaching. Imagine – from 11 until 6 all I had to do was focus on one person at a time. Figure out how to solve the immediate problem that person was struggling with. The obligation to uni-task felt as welcome as the cool-down walk at the end of a hard workout. I could finally calm my scattered mind and relax into a job that I know how to do. Eight lessons and a coaching have never felt so refreshing.
Back at my house now, I still feel grounded and capable in a way that I haven’t for weeks. Jarring me out of my normal routine made me realize how much I love it, and even though we still have to finish the unpacking process I am much readier to cope with it after one day of enforcing my normal brain discipline. I’ve been reminded how to focus and how to cope and I’m ready to face the chaos once again.