5AM the alarm goes off. David is the first to get out of bed. We have approximately 60 minutes to both shower, dress, take the dogs out and feed them, wake up the kiddos (if they have not already gotten up on their own), dress them, and get breakfast in before it is time to head to work and daycare drop-offs. Our morning pace is maddening. Everything feels precisely timed and like soldiers we move through our stations accordingly. But everyday after David takes a shower he comes back to bed and for what feels like an hour we just cuddle in. Sometimes we don’t say anything at all and just breathe and hug and maybe drift back to sleep a bit and sometimes while cuddling we talk up a storm about the latest news, our upcoming days, our weekend plans…..
Since last month’s onslaught of a thousand transitions, I have been thinking a lot about the rituals we have as a couple that allow us to bring in some “slow living” into our busy days. It might seem silly but I am realizing that these slow moving moments are actually the pulse checks of my marriage that remind David and I about the primacy of our relationship. It wasn’t like we sat down one day and said, “Okay every morning we will do X and during the afternoons we will do Y,” but gradually overtime we initiated a few life pauses, and these check-ins and moments bring in some physical touch and pace change. And without them, the day feels off-kilter. It was hard when I was reeling with emotion from our “reproductive future conversations” to want to be physically close, but it was precisely in those hard, HARD moments that those little marital tune-ups became critical reminders of why David and I chose to do this life thing together in the first place.
Why bother to do little rituals? It feels grounding, it feels comforting, and it is a mindful decision to become closer as partners. We aren’t obsessed with them, they sort of just flow naturally but I can tell the days in which we do them and the days in which we do not. During the day that slow pace moment is often a crushing hug. David and I will snag each other. It tends to be when one of us sees that the other is having a challenge: maybe a kiddo is screaming, maybe a pot of sauce just fell on the ground, maybe someone is so fixated on an activity (productive or not) that they cannot mentally break free from. In that moment, David will grab a hold of me or I him and just squeeze with all the might. It is hard in that kind of an embrace to not let go of the tension or fleeting anger. To not give in to that moment and to re-calibrate. So that is why these rituals are so important to me and my marriage.
They slow me down, they remind me that current tensions or challenges are fleeting, it brings back a physical touch when the business of life gets in the way of life. And most importantly it reminds me that we are partners and with love and communication and a little touch we can work it out (hug it out) and feel stronger together on the other side of our slow-living pause.
Have you ever had the best fish taco?
One that is covered is the right kind of slaw that is not too acidic but not too mild? That is enhanced through a tangy sauce perhaps mixed with some avocado and in which the cod is perfectly flaked?
My fish taco place, where this was the standard in deliciousness, closed. One afternoon, I drove to my favorite restuarant, walked up to the front door, grabbed the handle to enter with my mouth already salivating and nothing! The door was locked and without warning or signage it was gone. It was a devastation and the hunt began to find a new fish taco location. Until I can locate said place I am working on making my own. And am open to location recommendations!
**shout out to my bestie Kaelin, the tacos at Big Star in Chicago are hands down the best ever, I just wish I didn’t live so far away from them!**
I had such good intentions in my last home to garden. There is a long list around why that never happened:
The ground was SO rocky
The soil was so sandy
We were overgrown with weeds and crabgrass
We were in direct blinding sunlight all day
We had no irrigation
And while all of these are true and real causes for the dry and mangled yard we resided in for five years to be honest it just felt like such a learning curve too!
In school the teachers say, dig a hole, plant a seed, water and grow. And yes this is the basic process but really there is so much more to gardening. I just don’t know where to start. Please share any advice, tips, or tricks to maintaining your beautiful yard because we inherited a beautiful perennial garden and a number of flower beds just ready to burst forward with their spring bounty and I really don’t want to screw this up!
Laugh if you want, but I plan to check out my local library and work on the craft of gardening to do my yard proud because I want to be covered in sweat and soil and look about and say, “yes I helped cultivate that!” So my good intentions are public now, which makes me feel for accountable to this beautiful ground around me. Ask me how it went in august!
Teaching seniors in the spring feels like herding cats. It might seem like an easy under-taking but once out there in the wild, getting those cats to stay together is impossible. After 6 weeks of teaching seniors, I feel exhausted, defeated, and hateful towards cats. This was the first year, I had to call home to a senior parent and say, “Hello, your cat-like child is avoiding me, avoiding their work, and doing their darnedest to appear distracted and skittish.” The parent was shocked, but by the morning light the assignment was turned in. I don’t get senioritis. In High School, I was too much of a “good” student to even consider slacking and I felt so lucky and excited to have gotten into my dream school that I wanted to ensure I never jeopardized it with a poor grade. Who knows if the threat of retracting the entrance offer was real or what college counselors say to their seniors, but it worked on me.
So I have 6 days left……
I am going to miss them because I know these students well. I have taught most of them for two or three of their high school years which makes this time of year a bit bittersweet. I want to enjoy their company, their intellect and their humor, but I also don’t want to chase them down for work or feel like if one more persons says, “can I have an extension” that I will instantly combust! These last six days will be a true test of stamina so how do you prepare?
Slip on your pajamas
Open the biggest can of beer
Grab a bag of munchies
Turn on the TV
Fall asleep before 9PM
Repeat for 6 days
Well maybe it won’t go down exactly like that but a teacher can dream!