Runaway train

I feel some pretty deep ambivalence lately about our level of activity and plans. I love how busy and engaged my kids are and, for the most part (hello piano) we’ve let them pick their own activities and pursue any of their interests that they’re willing to work for.

But it comes at the expense of us having freedom to do things we might enjoy on the weekend. It comes at the expense of traveling or taking a true break together.

Number 71 is playing club soccer, which means she’s on the field almost every day of the week, including the weekend. She’s also playing softball, thankfully a lower-level commitment but one which still involves time on the field on the two days a week we DON’T have soccer. That’s a practice or a game 7 days a week every single week of the fall and the spring.

The Dancer, if possible, has a worse schedule. Between dance at her studio, dance for the competition team, and dance/acting/singing at the downtown theater academy attached to the main performance space in town, she’s dancing or performing 4-5 hours a day six days a week. Again, she loves it. It was her choice and I love that she’s so focused and dedicated to her craft.

But in the last week and a half my husband has forgotten where she was a grand total of 5 times. He flat out thought she was one place, drove there to pick her up, only to find she was another place.

I run a taxi service in the afternoons, driving from 2:45 until about 6:30 and then heading out again at 8-9 for second pick ups.

We’re so lucky to be able to offer all of these opportunities to our kids and to watch them thrive as they pursue them. But it’s all making the days and weeks move too fast. I used to laugh when my parents would claim that time speeds up as we age, but now I’m feeling it. It feels like we’re missing it even though we’re there for almost every second (or one of us is). It feels like we’re on a runaway train to graduation and all I want to do is pull the breaks a bit.

When they were toddlers I thought they would never ever ever get to the point where I wouldn’t have to watch them every second to make sure they didn’t manage to impale themselves on the coffee table or take a header down the stairs. Now it seems like they’ll be driving away for a date with a person I’ve never met tomorrow morning.

It’s hard to stay present in the moment on that train. To see the trees going by when all you can think about is how blurry they are and how that means the train is going faster than seems safe.

I know what I would tell a client here, to shift their thinking about allowing themselves to add a thought to the narrative “I don’t have to think about that now.” But for it to work I need to repeat the process OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND Oh no! Someone’s late for practice!

So, to my clients, to whom I offer such wisdom in a calm and easy manner in a controlled setting, please know that I realize how hard it is in reality. How crazy impossible it feels not to think about the future, now. Not to focus on the past, now. To allow yourself to focus only on the now, now. I promise, I’ll keep trying just as hard as you do and I’ll experience success and failure just like you.

If only I could remember where exactly my oldest daughter is and when she needs to be picked up.

Published by alexm1008

I am a Licensed Professional Counselor practicing in Houston, Texas. I specialize in helping clients develop skills and strategies to feel more in control of their emotions and behaviors. I am also a wife and mother of two who loves to run and travel (particularly to Disney World with my kids and without).

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