Timing Is Everything

Distracted Parenting

Now I run the risk of painting myself as a rather negligent mother, but anyone who is a parent will understand the constant barrage of requests that come with being the facilitator of all things in the family from mortgage renewals, to health concerns, to maintaining the chore schedule, to chauffeuring children to their various commitments.

This is not a complaint (unless I choose to make it one) as it is a path I chose because I love being home and micro managing involved and resulted in me selecting a career I can perform from home; however, the amount of things occupying my brain causes me to almost always occasionally tune out the white noise…of children talking.

Often elbow deep in the prep of making dinner, one of my children will saunter in (when I say children they are really young adults) and inform me of the latest ache or pain or bad night’s sleep to which I will appear to sympathetically nod, but am really thinking of whether that recipe said a tablespoon or teaspoon of salt.  Sadly some things needing attention sometimes slip my mind, but the important ones seem to come around again…hopefully when I am not occupied.

Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash

Driving Instructor Extraordinaire

Currently, I’m one of those lucky parents with exactly two children with learner’s licenses in the house.  If you cannot sense my sarcasm with the above comment, you are reading the wrong blog for you…go read something that involves science or the news…preferably uplifting news.

Teaching my children to operate a vehicle was something I never desired to participate in. In fact, the idea terrified me….and still does, but in order to see my way from A (child not driving) to C (me never having to drive them or drive with them again) involves B (teaching them how to drive by driving with them constantly).

For those who are embracing a more mindful way of living, teaching your child to drive will put you in the moment literally from 0 to 100 because they’re supposed to be doing 30. I am surprised you don’t hear of this technique more often in conversations on how to be more mindful.

Practice Makes Perfect

A few days ago, a sucker for punishment moment found my good person sitting in the passenger seat alongside my son out on his first driving adventure since putting it aside at the start of COVID.  While eager to get his license initially, my son now is pretty blase about driving and happy to be chauffeured; however initiated by myself, I forced encouraged him into having a driving adventure in my eagerness to get this over with.

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

Cruising along the highway at speeds of 80 km/hour, I pretended not to be anxious and showed my calmness with a cool demeanor, but with my hand gripping the armrest like a vice. I coached him through some various tips and tricks and potential hazards to be aware of which he navigated well.  Cruising on a relatively straight and traffic-free road, I started to relax, and we indulged in some light conversation.

“Hmmmm,” my son says.

“What’s up?”  I ask conversationally.

“I think I need new glasses.”

“Why do you say that?”  Concern creeping into my voice.

“The signs look a little blurry, and I can only read that sign”…pause as important road information sign gets closer…”Now.”

The sign is almost parallel with the car.

Fully-Present Parenting

Now in the kitchen this conversation would have filed away under things to do soon. In the car, this conversation was filed under the second item to attend to…the first being to get home in one piece.

After directing him to turn onto some back roads for the remainder of his driving time, I shakily contemplated how timing really is everything.  

He has an eye exam booked for next week.

The Man In The Red Shirt

Anxious Tendencies

“Does anyone in your family suffer from anxiety?”  This question was asked during one of my children’s mental health assessments years ago. Catching me off guard, I answered decidedly “No.”

I have since boned up on my knowledge of anxiety. 

The American Psychological Association’s definition of anxiety is: An emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.

Going back in time, I would decidedly change my answer to yes…most of us…on both sides of the family… going back generations.  We are anxiety-ridden group of amazing people.

My response to the therapist now would be “who doesn’t…narcissists?”

The Walk

On my daily morning walk along the river yesterday morning, I released my two pooches from their leashes to run in unbridled freedom through the green field on our usual route.  While M the Rottie usually listens very well, my little L (Beagle/Jack Russell mix) has a price on her listening skills and will only return when called if she knows you’re packing treats, but not when a rabbit pokes its head out of the bramble or of she catches the scent of something tantalizing…usually dead.   I will only pause to say that the fall salmon run is hell on dog walkers.  Think heaven for dogs…a beach filled with salmon carcasses in various stages of decay…and hell for the owner who futilely calls for her dogs to stop rolling on them all.

I wish I could say this was me with my lovely hat and superb wardrobe, but alas is not.
Photo by Oanh MJ on Unsplash

Enter The Man In The Red Shirt

Entering the lush green field, I catch sight of a gentleman in a red tee shirt on the other side of the field making his way across.  Immediately, anxious thoughts fill my head…should I leash the dogs now?  It’s quite far away though so I still have time.  Will L listen when we get closer or will she completely ignore me.  I give a practice call, and they both come running.  I give them a pat and let them run free a bit longer. 

Trying to gauge the direction of the red-shirted walker while simultaneously scanning for distractions such as rabbits for L, I pause my podcast so I can focus my full energy on ruminating.   I still cannot make out where the gentleman is heading, but I am thankful that he is wearing such a bright red color so visible amongst the green.  We continue our walk edging our way around the field with me keeping an eye on the dogs and the man. 

Leash Manners

Now, my dogs are not a threat to people.  They will keep their distance if they don’t feel like being social, but I know that not everyone loves dogs…even other dogs don’t always love dogs.  If it is a dogless person/people, I will leash my dogs or if there is another dog on leash, I will leash my dogs.  Another dog off leash though is fair game, and my dogs will happily exchange greetings in the inappropriate manner of all canine species.  For many this would hardly be an issue to fret about, but being a chronic pleaser, I like to be thoughtful, and the idea of not being thoughtful makes life very stressful for me. I also have a deep-seated fear of being yelled at…also a part of my chronic people pleasing quality.

Facing Anxiety Head On

After anxiously ruminating on the best time to garner control of my beasts, the gentleman disappears.  I keep my eyes out, and this occupies my attention for the better part of our walk around the field.

Nearing the spot where I had last spotted the red-shirted man, I scan the area and discover to my surprise a bright red post…not a man.  I had spent most of the walk ruminating about whether my dogs would bother a red post which they totally would have if we had walked closer to it…christening it with their charm.

Red Posts

After laughing at myself, I got to thinking about how many things I get ruminating about which turn out to be red posts.  From matters involving my children and husband to adopting the worries of my family and friends, I fully invest myself in being anxious for myself and my loved ones about matters which in hindsight end with a fizzle.

It is a quality I’m working hard to change because often what causes anxiety is my lack of trust in one’s ability to roll with life’s challenges successfully, and when I question that distrust, I know it to be false. Everybody I know and even myself has proven again and again that we have ability to take on life’s challenges and become more resilient in the process. Being aware of the pricelessness of time and whether I want to spend it ruminating on potentially red posts (and they’re mostly all red posts) is a possibility that always bears reflection.

Oh, and that it is time to make an optometrist appointment.

My Red-Shirted Man

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting control of it.

– Kahlil Gibran