It's time for a break. And I don't mean just in running mileage, but in other areas as well. Two days ago, six year old Lucy came home from school and wanted me to see her paperwork. Her sense of urgency was over the top.
"Mommy, you HAVE to see my stuff. I took a test today and I want you to see it. Oh and I did "dibels" and I was done in seventeen seconds mommy... SEVENTEEN! We actually get one minute, but I was done in seventeen. Isn't that GREAT?" Are you proud?" Dibels refers to a test that kindergarteners are given to test their recognition of numbers and letters and the sounds different letters make. They are supposed to recognize a minimum specific number in one minute. Apparently Lucy was quite proud that she crushed it all in seventeen seconds. And got them all correct.
"That's awesome, Lucy. Give me one second and I'll look at your stuff." I was preoccupied at the time. I was following an all important Facebook battle between two of my "friends". It was a political battle and the two people going back and forth were on opposing sides. It was getting quite heated.
"Mommy, look NOW! I don't want to wait. I want to show you."
I could feel the heat rising as she continued to hound me. It was honestly the first time I'd sat down.(except for the long two hour lunch I had just sat down for to celebrate a friend's birthday... funny I don't count that). I had just gotten on the computer ten minutes before the kids got home. Lucy continued to plead, which quickly turned into a whine. Jack walked in and immediately asks me if I'd gone out to get him the sweatshirt he had been asking for.
"Jack, I said you could have it for your birthday. Now please go away." Please go away? He'd been gone for nearly eight hours at school.
"That's STUPID. Why do I have to wait for my birthday?"
"Because you don't get anything you ask for just because you want it right now. Now GET OUT."
I finally slammed down my fist, shut down my screen and stomped downstairs. Lucy followed with her backpack in tow.
"Now will you look at my stuff?"
"Give it to me. I don't know why you guys can't just be patient. Jeez, you need attention 24/7 and God forbid I am not giving it to you the second you ask..."
And so it went on. My ranting about what ungrateful, selfish, needy little time suckers they were. I didn't actually say that, but my words definitely implied it. Emma and Will seemed unaffected. It was as if they'd heard this broken record so many times they could recite it word for word.
The evening went on as it normally does. I read a book and went to bed and woke up at 3:30 yesterday morning. I laid there with a very unsettling feeling. Something wasn't right and I could not put my finger on it. I got up, went downstairs and grabbed some coffee and went to my computer and as soon as Facebook popped up, I KNEW what it was. I was reminded of the exchange with Jack and Lucy the day before. I was immediately able to see that this virtual world in front of me had taken priority over my live children. All four of my kids are gone all day in school and when they get home, not only do they need my undivided attention, but they deserve it. And on so many levels, over and over again, I have failed to acknowledge that. Instead, I am dependent on a world that doesn't matter. I am over the top involved in lives that light up my computer screen. That doesn't mean the people on Facebook don't matter, it means that it shouldn't matter to me what the hell they had for dinner or what their kids are selling or why they think Obama is God (or Romney). At least it shouldn't matter at 3:40 in the afternoon. Maybe it should matter instead at 5:00 am, on a morning that I am not running. But then again, maybe it shouldn't matter then either. Facebook isn't bad. There are wonderful prayer pages and prayer chains that stem from Facebook. It's been a way to see my family from out of town and see my nieces and nephews grow up. It's been the way that my friends and I have built a running community and inspired so many in our town to run. It's been a way to promote businesses. And if I could limit myself to using it for just those things things, or in other words, find a healthy balance, it would work perfectly into my life.
And so I realized my harmful attachment to this thing that was affecting my parenting had to go, at least for a little while. I don't have the discipline to just not get on FB when my phone pings with notifications anytime I get a message or comment. So I deactivated my account until January 1st. Then I suppose I will reevaluate whether or not I even want to be back. Perhaps it's like an alcoholic saying they will have "just one beer..." But I am going to try to use it only for the above mentioned things.
My neighbor approached me last night and said "How will I get my Nora fix if you don't post?" I said that she may actually have to type in the web address... if she thought she could manage :)
I find it amazing, and then again I don't, that the things I pray for are answered in such an obvious way. I also ask for help in recognizing how they are being answered. I always ask for help to be a better mother and wife. All other earthly jobs or titles I have pale in comparison to the importance of those two. What reason did I have for waking up unsettled? Why did I know as soon as Facebook popped up what needed to be done? Some days I don't even know what to pray about or ask for and so my prayer is simple. "You know what I need today more than I do. Guide me." And so He did.
It is time for me to retreat from my usual world of running many miles and keeping up with virtual reality. It is time for rest and time for weeding out what does not matter. It is time to really cherish and give thanks for what is physically in front of me, begging for and needing my attention and guidance.
And what a perfect and beautiful season for such a retreat to begin!